In my therapy office, I meet two types of people; those with the desire to hold on and those with the desire to let go. Those who fear change and those who crave it. Often, it’s life’s big transitions that land clients in my office. I think that’s because transitions test our abilities to balance both holding on and letting go. Really, we can’t be either one of these two types of people because life requires we be both. As the late psychologist Henry Havelock Ellis said “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
This has been a year full of transition for me personally. Just when life seemed predictable and smooth. . . things changed. . . lots of things changed. I can empathize with those who wish to hold on tightly to what has been so good. I too understand that desire to let go and move on to something new.
My family has grieved the loss of our dear Grampy. He was old, had been in ill health for sometime and in some ways his passing was a blessing. But we all miss him. Holidays and family gatherings just aren’t the same. Grief is normal and not easy. Not easy for me. Not easy for my children; trying to understand death as it effects us closer now than ever before. Bye for now Grampy.
Ever get in a rut doing the same thing? And you think it’s not great any more but it’s comfortable. I was in a professional practice rut. My practice was in an office that was comfortable but didn’t suit my work anymore. There were good things and great people at that old office building but in it, my practice had become flat. I’d been longing for the right opportunity. And then, it was right in front of me. Do I take it? Who are these new office mates? Will the space work for my clients? So exciting. So glad I made the move and let the old office go. Amazing what this move has done for me and my practice.
And then, there’s senior year. My oldest child is a high school senior. How this happened so soon is beyond me. Blink your eyes and your toddler heads off to school, learns to drive and then fills out college applications. His year has been filled with all the excitement of new beginnings and many “last times” too. In September, I waved him good-bye on his last first day of high school. In October, he handed out Halloween candy at my door. . . maybe for the last time. Then there were all the Holiday festivities that he might not be home for next Holiday Season. A good friend said recently “Ahhhh. A senior. Enjoy the time you have left with him. Savor every moment. Especially the interactions between the kids. It's amazing how the family dynamics change once a child heads to college. It's the little things ... Like when you go to the grocery store to buy potatoes and you grab five. You bring them home forgetting you now only need four.” Oh, I’m so proud of my senior and wish him the best. Yet somedays I’d rather hold on tight than let go.
So is life. My life. Doors opening. Doors closing. Me, standing on the threshold of transitions practicing that fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
Nannette is a mother, wife, daughter, friend, psychotherapist, blog writer and consultant. She is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and works with individuals, couples and families in her private psychotherapy practice located in Kennebunk, Maine. Nannette has had many life experiences, some good others sad, that have tested her skill at letting go and holding on. Nannette appreciates your thoughts and comments and hopes you’ll look for other Healthy&Whole blogs on her website
Photo & Image credits:
Couples Walk Hand In Hand courtesy of nuttakit; Sunset courtesy of antpkr; Young Plant In Ground Over White courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn; Family In The Beach courtesy of photostock.