What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
OK first, I am bad at letting go. I hold people and grudges and inanimate objects and clothes. I might need it someday. I didn’t need it last year but I might need it tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be a shame if I needed it tomorrow and it was gone?
Sure, I could get another. Friend, pair of pants, perfect index card. But I already have this one.
After some reflection, I see that I have let go of caring what people think of me. A little. Not a lot. It is ongoing, this process. In the words of Faith No More, I CARE A LOT.
This year, I planned the preschool Christmas party. I was nervous about the responsibility; you know how people are, they gossip and talk shit about other people. I had to book a venue, organize food, put together a slew of goody bags, all on a budget. Two years ago, the goody bags were too expensive. Last year, they were too cheap. Everyone had a story about the year the Christmas party sucked. I had a binder full of useless information. It was all a lot more than I’d bargained for when I agreed to buy a couple of fruit trays and print out a flyer for the classroom. It is always more than you’ve bargained for.
When I take stuff on, I really take it on. I care. I don’t *want* to care as much as I do, but I do. I care what people think. Sometimes that’s why I refuse to take stuff on, because I’m worried I’ll care too much and get stressed out.
Then one day I realized; I will never see most of these people again. My kid is in the older class, he is going to a different elementary school than all the other kids, these parents are not My People. I need not fear being judged. I need only do my job to the best of my ability.
So I did. It went fine. It’s over. It’s possible they will be gossiping about how the goody bags were ambigenderous. I don’t care, in the “oh god how can I show my face again” sort of way. I care that the kids had fun, I care that no one bled, I care that it’s done and I did my best.
It’s like the moment I had a few years back when I was working for the software company. I was putting together a sales presentation and it was all fiddly and had fifteen sets of tabs and eighteen colour prints per binder and there were six binders – oh! maybe there need to be a couple of extra binders! – and the boss was nervous and we were all nervous because he was nervous (and more than a bit volatile) and suddenly I thought: Is anyone going to DIE if I don’t do this binder right? Seriously. Is anyone going to DIE.
The answer, of course, was no.
I think about that a lot when I get too wrapped up in things that really don’t matter. I mean, they matter a bit, everything does, but really? Is it worth tying yourself in knots about? It’s an obligation. It’s a job. No one is going to die.
Good thing I’m not a surgeon, hey?
I have let go of caring too much about things that don’t matter. I am reserving my care for the things that do matter.