Have you ever felt the need to let go of a particular person or thing that's outlived its role in your life...
... But feared that if you did, you'd feel lost, confused, and unsure of yourself?
If the answer is yes -- congratulations! You're a human being, after all.
And thus you know -- that what we REALLY grapple with here?
Is not so much about WHAT we'll do, once we stop doing what we've always done...
"WHO will I be -- if not who I've always been?"
Changing what we do necessarily brings up questions about our identity.
Change feels threatening, because it impacts the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
Alas, to grow requires letting go of the people, habits and environments that we've OUT-grown -- which can be a scary and disorienting process.
Here are some things I've had to let go of before I was entirely ready:
1. My mother's hand, when the yellow school bus pulled up for the first day of kindergarten
2. The belief that the friends I made in middle school would remain my closest friends for life
3. Being on the tennis team, when it suddenly conflicted with soccer season
4. The U.S. and everyone I'd ever known, when I left for university in Montreal
5. The security of a full-time job (with its steady paycheck, benefits, and ease with which other people understood what I did for work) when I started working for myself
6. The absurdly low rent of the first studio (aka "Tiny") that Bruce and I shared in Oakland -- before I knew how I'd afford the bigger place
7. My pride, multiple times
8. The majority of my worldly possessions, when I started cycling from SF to South America
... And as a human yourself, who has invested time and effort into your evolution over the years, I bet you could cobble your own list together without much thought at all.
And, with hindsight?
You could probably point to the many fresh opportunities that opened up to you as a result, once you'd cleared new space in your life that the old used to take up.
Which is why we do it -- na?
You know this as well as I do; and yet it STILL pains me to add a bittersweet 9th thing to this list...
... which, alas, is the Sunday Story.
Last week, you received the 158th Sunday Story edition; which means I've been writing to you EVERY SUNDAY FOR THE PAST THREE (3) YEARS.
(Not 2, as I mistakenly thought.)
Wow! That's nothing to sneeze at, am I right?
Now, the time has come to let it go -- and express my deep thanks and appreciation to YOU for being part of it.
For reading, writing back, sending me ideas and articles, sharing your stories and struggles and breakthroughs, and generally being a source of huge inspiration.
And in the spirit of Marie Kondo, before I surrender this thing that's been part of my world for so long...
I'd like to offer thanks to the Sunday Story practice itself.
Inanimate though it may be, I choose to address the practice as "you" -- because it's been YOU, dear reader, who inspired me to keep writing each week.
I'm so grateful for how:
1. You demanded that I pay more attention to the world around me
2. You forced my thoughts out into a public sphere, where they could be witnessed and vetted and interacted with, instead of letting them reverberate inside a private echo chamber
3. You stretched the limits of my creativity in finding something to write about each week
4. You didn't give a hoot what mood I was in, which served as a reminder that not everything is about me
5. You offered a window into my world that helped people feel connected to me, even when I was physically far away
6. You helped foster conversations with people I might not otherwise have built a relationship with
7. You made me practice seeing things from multiple perspectives
8. You reminded me to look for problems I could illuminate or solve
9. You inspired my grandmother to send her first email to me
10. You inspired many people to write back and say "thank you, I needed this"
11. You inspired many people to reach out and hire me
12. You gave me an excuse to seek wifi on the cycling trip whenever the weekend approached
13. You taught me that being "prolific" or "productive" is really just a matter of showing up to do the work, even when you don't want to
14. You occasionally surprised me with what wanted to be written, and what other people had to say about it
15. You gave me a reason to needle friends and family re: what I should write about this week and if they'd read what I wrote about this week
16. You got me in the habit of writing, which made me feel like "a writer"
17. Although you tortured me relentlessly, you always gave me a feeling of deep satisfaction and relief whenever I hit "publish"
... for all these things and many more, thank you for helping me grow -- as a thinker and as a writer and as a human.
Although this is the last "Sunday Story," it's not the last you'll hear from me.
I promise to write you whenever I have something worth sharing -- the only difference is it won't be tied to a particular day of the week! In fact, I suspect that being liberated from the Sunday schedule will allow me to bring you even better stories.
Although, I guess I'll have to find a new signoff... ;)