Wednesday, January 21, 2015

...letting go, holding on, and tug of war...

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

~Ann Landers

When I was in elementary school, I was part of a tug of war event. Mom explained, “Whatever you do, don’t let go!” I wish she had added “to the rope” because in life I find that sometimes I still apply her advice to general activities OR when I do let go, I feel terribly guilty about it.

The idea of letting go came to mind this week. It’s the first week back to teaching and I’m *letting go* of my sabbatical. Described as a rest or a break from work, it comes from shmita or the Sabbath year that is described several places in the Bible. Typically, it’s taken in the 7th year but in life, I find that I do everything in 8’s so I, of course, took my sabbatical during my 8th year.

A traditional sabbatical includes research and travel. Because I *travel* aka commute so far to and from work, the thought of physical travel almost makes me want to cry at times. I really wanted to stay put. Before this job I was a job-jumper and a serial mover… moving 13 times in a 9 year period. But since I found my place, I have planted some strong roots that aren’t at all interested in uprooting.

Hanging in there hasn’t always served me well. In past relationships I waited too long to leave. We all know how it is to look back on the past… but now I’m letting go of the sabbatical schedule of walking and leisurely researching; I’m letting go of sleeping in until 6am; I’m letting go of working in my pajamas until noon. But… what I’m holding onto is so much greater.

This morning I met with a woman who attended one of my research presentations in 2010. She’s followed my research blog since then and because she was in the area, contacted me for a meeting. We talked mostly about life and a little bit about research. I forget sometimes how powerful my research has become and that I have those waiting for what I do next. During the sabbatical, I had several individuals reach out to me because they were thrilled that I was frequently returning to my research blog. I’m going to hold onto that.

My sabbatical also gave me an opportunity to try out new endeavors. Acquiring my secondary position as a cemetery tour guide was one which has actually enabled me to create a Halloween tour for the city. This is something that I’ll be writing over the next few months… a history of Halloween in the local area. Yeah, I’m going to hold onto that too. Becoming a tour guide was a dream that came to fruition.  I’ve joined Meet Up so I can learn more about activities in the local area. Now that I’m married to my fella, we’re able to continue on with our own interests since we aren’t shoving an entire relationship into weekends. It’s refreshing to be in the same house and actually explore separate interests and activities.

But, there are some things of which I plan to let go--- they can be lumped into negativity so I don’t want to waste my time and focus on them in a blog post. For now, I’m letting go of that rope. 

The picture is my view from my office. It was a snowy day that I tried to capture with my iPhone. Snow never shows up just right in photos. Now that I'm posting this picture, the view of the back of our campus has some serious 1970s architecture. The front of campus has the older Gothic buildings. Of well, I'm just happy to have a window.


  1. Your quote in the beginning is spot on, it indeed takes a really strong person to let go and walk away. This is a really nice post! And P.S. That architecture is very similar to certain suburbs in Finland! :D We have tons of 70's blocks of flats that look just like that!

    1. These are dorms. I'm just glad that I have a window in my office but I have to say that watching students do the walk of shame some mornings keeps me young :p

      Thank you by the way.

  2. Looks a lot like our campus! But I love the skull and spider on your desk. They add character. :-)

    I also love the Ann Landers quote. Sometimes it IS truly harder to let go.

    1. I mean the front of the campus is so cool that we even have a coffin door!

      Letting Go In Practice right here.

  3. Taking time to think, let go of things and do what you love sounds great!

    The metaphor of the rope pull makes me think of how people sometimes hurt themselves because they have the rope wrapped around their hand and can't let go! It is good to have the option to let go!

    Now I'm going to do Disney, so don't kill me! :P

    Let it gooooo, let it gooooooo!

    1. That should be my new mantra...

      Wait, you're going to Disney?