Letting go is a great thing. But letting go doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone one, or for every situation. In this case I’m talking about letting go of outcomes to be in the moment, to be present and be fully engaged in what is in front of me at that time. But this doesn’t mean I am foregoing foresight, or planning. There is a time to plan and to be fully engaged in that moment, in the process of planning. When, however, that planning is done then the time comes to do.
Over the past 18 years I must have spent two-thirds of my time living in either the past or the future, focused not on what was, or what was in front of me, but constantly flipping back and forth between regrets for what I had failed to do in the past, and fears over what those regrets meant for the future. There were other regrets and fears as well, almost always coming as these tandem forces, keeping me from singularly focusing on what I needed to accomplish at the time.
Once entranced by this duo, breaking free of their bonds proved very difficult. Despite knowing better, despite intellectually knowing and understanding that I was not helping myself, whenever I looked to step away from these twins I always asked myself the question, “But what about?” But-what-about was always my answer for continuing to dwell on the past or fret about the future. But-what-about got in the way of everything, including a very important truth around but-what-about.
I know I’m not alone in this. I’m confident few people think about this conundrum in the same way, but it’s not hard for me to think about times I’ve heard friends and family speak of past regrets, or speak of fears of the future, failing to simply do and allow the outcome to be what it may. “So it goes” as was the refrain of Kurt Vonnegut’s protagonist in Slaughterhouse Five.
Today I can honestly say I’ve finally let go. So, what changed? I honestly cannot say what was the inciting incident, but very recently I not only recognized, but finally understood and embraced but-what-about was coming from me. I could play the victim and claim the twins were the ones who consistently placed but-what-about in front of me, but the thoughts of the twins came from me, and I was the twins. But-what-about was mine, and I no longer wanted, or want to own but-what-about.
I’m mortal and flawed, so of course I have hiccups here and there where I can see but-what-about lurking around the occasional corner, but I’m finally confident that I can keep it at bay. And the best way to do that has been to do: not to worry about what was, or what will be, but to simply do, and allow the outcome to be what it will be. And, so it goes.