I have a tendency to hold on to the things I love a little too long, sometimes until they aren't even something I really love anymore. I will keep a white knuckle grip on the memory of when the thing that I loved was still something that made me happy and benefitted my life. For a long time, I convinced myself that keeping that grip was good for me. Why would I want to move on from something I loved, even if it wasn't ideal anymore? I've learned recently that, in most cases, it is much better to let those things go. To hold on to the memory, but to not stay in a place or with a person that is no longer serving me just because at one point in time it was perfect.
What I have found is that if you do hang on to those things that are no longer good for you it will only ruin the memory of it ever being good. The negativity it will bring into your life in the time you are desperately grasping at the past, hoping to recreate it, will only dismantle the fond memories you have. Walking away from anything you love(d) is hard. Of course it is. But it is much healthier than letting yourself fester in a environment that you no longer belong in. Having to walk away doesn't discredit the beneficial role the situation had on your life at all; it only proves that you are a self aware person who is able to know and act when something is no longer suiting you.
Personally, I am terrible at this. On every level. I'm horrible at letting go of friendships, belongings, places, and jobs. It's just not in my nature to be able to easily say goodbye to anything. I attach to everything in my life with my whole heart--something I have had to teach myself to be grateful for. I love that I have the ability to fall in love with absolutely anything in life, it makes everything that much sweeter. However, I have also learned, the hard way, that nothing in life is permanent. Not people, places, things, or even life itself. So, for every time I had to remind myself that loving something is okay, I had to also remind myself of the ugly fact that no matter how much I do love something I will, eventually, have to let it go.
For a good portion of my life I just didn't let myself really feel the emotions of what it meant to let something go. It was much easier to distract myself to the point of forgetting. This only led to me feeling a tsunami wave of disappointment and loss all at once as opposed to having felt each loss independently. Believe me when I tell you this is much less fun than handling every emotion as I felt it.
Recently, I left my job at Red Star. Which seems like such a small moment to any stranger in the world. However, it was an unpleasant decision to make because it involved a lot of self reflection. Which does sound pretty dramatic for just quitting a waitressing job, but hear me out. I loved working at Red Star, I adored my coworkers and on most occasions it was a pretty damn fun place to work. When I came home from London a lot had changed there but since I had already committed to working there again I went back without hesitation. I was working there, along with two other jobs. I would work only three days a week (barely make $100) and many of my favorite coworkers had left and/or were planning to leave. I was not happy there in the slightest. But I kept working because for the longest time it was a fun place for me to be and I thought if I just hung on to that and held out that maybe, just maybe, that would return. Realistically, that was never going to happen. Hanging on to Red Star was only making me begin to resent my job there in the first place and I realized that it was time to move on. So I did. And I am happier now. I still appreciate Red Star and how much I grew while there but I am self aware enough now to acknowledge the fact that it was time to move on.
I wrote the above post around a month ago. It's taken me a while to post it because feelings can take a long time to process and things change. I've learned a lot and life has changed a lot in the past month. Something I've learned in that time is that nothing in life is predictable. Love everything you have while you have it, to the fullest extent that you can because you could easily wake up tomorrow without it. But also let everything go when it is time to do so. Learn to be content with what you love and what you've lost, but never, ever, stop cherishing both what you have and what you once had. Be grateful for every moment of life you've lived and every ounce of love you have felt.
Tonight after work, at The Tavern, I sat on the backdoor steps outside and watched the sunset with a glass of wine. I thought about a lot of things, the sky and all its colors, the little bit of money I made today, and how I have no idea what I'm doing but how lucky I am to be able to do everything that I am. So, the next time you can take a minute, watch the sunset, and reflect. Hopefully it will help you, like it did me, feel more peaceful in what you have and have had.