Dear Aunty Em: Stuck
“I broke it off with a guy I was really into because he didn’t want to commit. It’s been over a year now but I can’t seem to move on. I made a New Year’s Resolution to date more and I’ve been on a couple of dates. They were nice enough but they didn’t make me feel the same way that he made me feel. What do I do?” – Stuck
I read a beautiful passage yesterday that described two different approaches to life. The author talked about sitting in the seat facing backwards on the train – and watching all the things you’ve lost falling away – or sitting facing forward with a sense of hope and anticipation. The culmination of this piece was that we should all try to live a life ‘rich in loss’.
This seems counterintuitive. After all, we live in an acquisitional culture whereby our success is determined by our gains, not our losses. But when you really think about it, you lose everything and everyone at some point. To be rich in loss is to have had the chance to hold these ephemeral things in your hands – to treasure them, observe them, delight in them – and then let them go.
It is how we let go that matters. Do we hold tight the sweaty hand that so desperately wants to escape or do we lightly kiss the fingers of our beloved and wave goodbye with gratitude and sorrow?
Too often we think that we should move on and forget. That we can somehow erase these significant people with enough effort and forward motion.
The art of letting go isn’t as simple as that. It’s learning to live with these ghosts and shadows. Making peace with them. Accepting that they are there, and that they trigger feelings in you, and that those emotions can be challenging.
But does that mean you shouldn’t love again? That you should shut up shop?
Consider this: what if you’d shut up shop before you’d met this guy? You wouldn’t have experienced the romance you had with him.
And what’s to say that romance isn’t waiting around the corner, waiting for you to unlock your door and invite it in?
Dearest Stuck, do not close your door to the very thing you desire. Just because it’s not going to come from the place you’d hoped, doesn’t mean it won’t arrive.