Do you ever wonder…
Is planned obsolescence causing us to become new and improved versions of ourselves at a rapid pace? Are we throwing pieces of ourselves away that we need, because we’ve lost the ability to discern what is worth keeping? I wonder (and sometimes worry). Then I remember, the world is always changing and so are we. Wasn’t it just a week or two ago that leaves started showing up on trees?
Walt and Me and Letting Go
I taped a portion of Walt Whitman’s preface to Leaves of Grass onto a purple notebook. One day, I cut the paper and the notebook cover holding his words and tacked them onto my bulletin board. I was 22. My daughter and I lived on the middle level of an old house that had been converted into apartments.
My fiance and I moved into our own house in February. As I packed up for the move, I threw away that scrap of paper along with many others that I’d been holding onto. Now, all I need to do is visit Pinterest or do a Google search to refer to Whitman’s Wisdom:
My favorite line is: re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul. At 40, I find myself dismissing who I no longer need or want to be. Why hold on?
The Obsolete Versions of Me That I’ve Let Go of…
- Chain-smoking, black-wall painting, poster-hanging wannabe actress and writer who waitressed at a bar and went to after-parties in people’s houses at 3 in the morning. Days were spent sleeping, reading, listening to music, and watching movies.
- The woman who flicked off the boyfriend who asked her to join him running in the morning. We both laughed, so I wasn’t being a total asshole. My perspective at the time: He was white collar and ran marathons. I worked for a living, so I didn’t need to workout.
- Stressed-out, panic-attack having, and anxiety riddled person. Not to get all braggy, but if insecurity and depression created an obstacle course of Olympic proportions, I’d have won the gold medal while doing the course blindfolded and backwards while wearing heels.
- Bartending, sleep-deprived single mom, barely keeping up on bills.
- Busy mom and wife working and going to school, working two jobs, or working an intense job that required total focus. Doing mom things like driving my daughter to activities, making sure she ate 3 meals a day and snacks, helping her with homework, and reading to her before she want to bed. Doing wife things like ironing the husband’s shirts. Sometimes I think I spent more time ironing his shirts than with him. Note: Thanks to Gordon Ramsay, the now ex-husband did develop a fondness for cooking. Halfway into our marriage, he started cooking more.
I can’t imagine smoking a cigarette. Running is something I do, because I enjoy it. The same goes for yoga, ballet fit, hiking, cooking, baking, and volunteering for causes I believe in. I am a writer who has been published enough and who has worked with enough clients to know when to say, “No thank you. This is not for me.” My partner and I work together to maintain a sense of work-life balance. We hire some tasks out. Instead of ironing shirts, we take them in to be pressed. I’m a mom, grandma, basically a step-mom, and about to be a custodial guardian (or similar) of my fiance’s grandson unless something drastic happens.
Thank goodness our old selves become obsolete. I’m happy to let go of my former selves, to embrace who I am now, and to make like wine and get better with age.
What about you? Are there past selves you’ve let go of being? Please email me and let me know! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.