Graceful Exit

I know it’s difficult for humans to let go of things. After all, we’re social beings emotionally designed to anchor our lives with the things around us. When we find something or someone we really like, we build a relationship with them, cling onto them, and try to keep the connection as much as possible. We get emotionally attached to the weirdest things ever; we get attached to a movie stub from a spontaneous date, to a certain character in a certain tv show, to a particular holiday, to a pen from primary school, to our phones, to another person. And, no one can blame us. After all, those things are part of who we are.  You were probably known as the social butterfly, the girl who’s forever on her phone, the one who traditionally puts the star up on the Christmas tree.

However, as people always say, the only permanent thing is change. As evolving human beings, we change too and, along the way, we somehow lose the things which made us who we are. We may not go to the same coffee place anymore, we might not enjoy the same dishes mommy cooked anymore, we may not look forward to the same holidays anymore. It might have been a gradual change or one that happened with a blink of an eye. But, the point is, some traditions we were accustomed to having are no longer there.

Time and time again, especially on those long lonely confusing times, we tend to miss how things used to be and we miss those few things we used to have. I guess, when things get too rapid and overwhelming, we find a sense of comfort in the familiarity of those late night talks, the inside jokes, the taste of Christmas caramel pudding, or the smell of our childhood pillow.

Yes, it’s normal to miss the things of the past. We are creatures of habit and we want things to stay the same. We want to be able to go back to our comfort zone and be surrounded with things that remain how we remember them to be. Hence, we try to go back to how things used to be. We watch reruns of old movies, we visit our long-lost relatives, we browse through time-tainted photo albums. And we do our best to hold on to how things used to be.

Well, it’s good to miss things. It shows how much we valued them, how much value they put into our lives, how much these things have affected our lives. It proves that it was there-significantly- and that it left an impression which, in one way or another, influenced who we are now.  After all, every single thing that entered and exited our lives contributed to the person we are now. Therefore, it IS important to be able to take a moment to appreciate all these things we once had.

But, before we go scrambling back to what we were accustomed to. Pause. Stop for a while. No matter how invaluable it was to us back then, those things in the past are in the past for a reason. Perhaps, we have grown over it. Perhaps, it didn’t work out. Perhaps, it was detrimental to our health. Or, perhaps, it was just time to let go. Whatever reason it was, maybe, they simply ought to stay in the past. No one is going discredit the value it has in your life. It was real, it was deep, and it was true. But, unfortunately, it’s not meant to stay anymore; It’s time to let go.

So, next time you miss something and get sad that it’s not there anymore, don’t mourn over it. Acknowledge the value it gave to your lives. Be glad that your were fortunate enough to have experienced it. And, then, let go. According to Ellen Goodman, a graceful exit is when you leave what’s over without denying its value. So, try it. Maybe, exiting one chapter gracefully can help you gracefully enter the next chapter of your lives as well.

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