Sometimes knowing when to let go and when to continue is a difficult decision. I've experienced this in my career, relationships, creativity, and belongings.
A recent example of me letting go is with my trusty Toyota Corolla. I traded it in this past weekend.
My Corolla was in need of costly repairs, which ended up being more than what the car was worth. So, I had to come to terms with the fact that it may be time to trade it in and move on to another car... I had to think this through and weigh my decision. My car was part of my life for so long, it was hard to say goodbye. It was the first car I bought new and I had it for fourteen years (over a third of my lifetime). In some ways it represented an end of an era—I bought it just before I moved to San Diego and it has been with me this whole time, through transitions and life updates. But in the end, I realized it ran its course and served its purpose. It would have been more expensive to keep it than to just get a more reliable new to me car. It was time.
When I went through the process of trading in my car, it made me think of other times in my life when I decided to let go of something. In this blog article, I will discuss a couple examples of letting go and how I believe it has impacted my life (for the better). I don't think it's always easy to do, but I do think it usually ends up working out in the end, leaving room for new chapters.
Letting Go In My Career
I've mentioned in other blog posts that I went through a career transition in recent years.
In 2019, I decided to leave my job without another job in place. I knew in my bones I needed a change. I also knew that I didn't want to start another job right after I ended my previous one. I thought this decision out for years. I prepared financially to be able to have some time in between jobs. I prepared emotionally to have the courage to follow through with it. And even with some of this preparation, it still was not an easy decision for me. It took bravery to leave something familiar and enter a period of the unknown. I knew though, the only way I could gain clarity on the best next steps would be to have some time and space to connect with my true calling, and be able to create a future that is authentically aligned with that.
By letting go of my previous career, I could now do the inner work needed to decide how best to live my life. I began to feel like I was able to design my life free of expectations. And so I did. I took that time to dig deep, read, journal, attend workshops, cook, clean, immerse myself in the arts, and connect with friends/family/colleagues. Essentially journey back to my authentic self. Peel off all the layers and get to the core of what I enjoy and who I am. I decided I wanted to start freelance editing, so I took some courses and built my small business. A couple years later, I felt called to start writing, and so I re-branded my business that was initially focused on healthcare editing to make space for writing.
In addition, I knew I needed to build in more self care and boundaries into my life. I now make sure to exercise at least a little bit every day. I read more. I check out books from the library. I relax when I need to. I continue to connect with friends, families, and colleagues. I am more intentional with my finances. I am more intentional with my life.
And so, four years after I decided to leave my job, I have no regrets. It was the best decision I could have done for myself. By letting go, I left room for more openings in life and creativity and freedom flowed.
Letting Go for Creativity
It is my experience that in order to be creative, my mind needs to be able to wander a bit. And in order to do that, it can't be stressed or full of worry or lists of things I need to do. Doing things like walking, painting, doodling, reading, and journaling help me relax my mind and think more clearly. This allows my mind to naturally get curious, spark ideas, and flow. Another consequence of that is a deeper sense of calm and inner peace that settles in when I let go of really structured thoughts.
I hear people say they are not creative. And I often wonder if that's true or if they simply don't allow their mind to drift and let go and be messy. It is sometimes uncomfortable to do that, I get it. But what happens when you redirect your thoughts to things that may not seem as "important" or pressing? Would that get you sidetracked from the important things you need to do? Or will it help ease some worry and think of things in another light? Similarly, I hear people say they can't draw. But I feel like most people can draw basic things, like shapes and squiggles—and those can be turned into a lot of things.
I think I've experienced both sides of the coin, having times in my life where I felt I wasn't creative or like I couldn't draw or didn't have time for creative things. And I think it comes down to making space and vulnerability in your life to allow those things in. Also, giving yourself some credit and acknowledge there are probably many things you do that are mabye not traditionally creative but have creativity in them.
When space is created for activities of your choosing, it can make more space for wonder and exploration. And the sky is the limit on where that can lead. In fact, it is my belief that it can lead to a path of deeper authenticity to your special gifts and talents.
I enjoy writing about these topics of letting go, career transitions, editing and writing. I believe it is because I experienced significant gains in the quality of my life having gone through them. Authenticity is a continual journey and I find writing and creating helps me keep in that mode. Join me for more of these blog articles by subscribing on my home page. You can also follow me on Instagram to see more of my latest happenings :)
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!