My mom always wanted to move houses, but I was not a child amenable to change. I'd cry in protest when they had a tree or shrub taken down, so you can imagine my tantrums over the prospect of actually leaving our home. I did not want to alter a single detail in my little world, ever.
I still have that inflexible, clinging kid inside me, but I've gotten better about grappling with change. After all, life is a good teacher. We all get the same lessons in not getting exactly what we wanted. Life is a good friend, too, because those lessons are essential. It's "adapt or die," as the start-up types like to say.
I'm all about baby steps these days, thus the picture of my now-four-year-old. He bounds up steps these days, but I find myself gingerly feeling for the next one, proud of myself when I reach the top.
Now that election results have been called and the country is looking to a fresh start in January, I also have that New Year's feeling. What can I let go of? How can I lighten the amount I'm carrying as winter approaches? I always feel like the time change is a curtain going down in my brain--I'm a little slower, a little more prone to the blues, in winter--but this year I'm not sure if my usual remedies, such as seeing friends, will be possible.
That's why I finally decided to make a change I've been inching toward for over a year. It's a small one (because baby steps), but in letting go of one semi-regular freelance gig, I'll have more physical and mental space in my life. I'm cracking open the door to bid this one thing adieu and see what else might float in.
In writing this, I feel a little silly making such a fuss over one thing that wasn't even an every-month assignment. But it was hard to let go of for a variety of reasons:
- I'd developed a scarcity mindset over years of adjuncting and freelancing before pivoting in 2019 to the full-time job I have now.
- This gig was the first regular assignment I received (I told you I'm sentimental). It gave me experience when I was still a beginner, positive feedback from editors, and opened other doors along the way.
- I liked the idea of earning "extra money" and intended to save it for a bigger goal like travel.
Over the past year, I kept going back and forth, telling my husband I was going to quit but then taking a new assignment after all. Finally, I realized this gig was no longer serving me. I didn't need to be fearful of losing something; I already had enough. I could be grateful for all the growing I'd done over the past 4.5 years without holding onto something in a way that was blocking new possibilities. And perhaps most of all, I was just spending that extra money as it came in. Neither the work itself, nor the money, were adding up to anything bigger.
Are you shedding any old skins right now? Be gentle on yourself, friends, and reach out to others. It's going to be a difficult winter, but remember that things are always in transition. Soon enough it will be spring again. My hope for myself and you is that we all emerge a little lighter.