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We Have to Let Go of Who We Are to Discover Who We Can Become
“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lau Tzu
In the spring of last year, a number of events challenged my sense of self and my sense of direction.
In March I realized my tax liability would be much larger than I’d anticipated, effectively depleting my entire savings account. The next month I had my first major surgery, something that terrified me and further burdened me financially.
Less than a month later, while my boyfriend was on a vacation I had to miss because I was recovering, a burglar broke into my apartment and stole everything of significant financial value that I owned.
One month later my grandmother passed away, surrounded by her closest family members. I’d missed the majority of the last decade of her life, but still, I was there.
Never before in my life had I experienced so much loss in one season. It was an overwhelming, emotionally challenging time.
And then, without really understanding my intentions, I tossed another loss onto the heap: I stopped writing every day for this blog, as I’d done previously for almost three years.
A part of me felt this urge to write about the same things over and over. So many times I started blog posts about how I felt uncertain, scared, lost, and sometimes, empty.
I’d write about my inner conflict over living 3,000 miles away from my family, with my boyfriend who’s from California, and how badly I wanted to move home after my grandmother’s death.
I’d write about how directionless I felt, with no desire to make any of the professional choices other bloggers often make—mentoring, coaching, or leading workshops.
I’d write about how ironic it was that so many people emailed me for advice about their lives, when in that moment in time, I had so little clarity about my own.
And then I’d stop. Three or four paragraphs in, I’d shut my computer, realizing I had no endings for those posts, and considering that maybe that was okay.
I was hesitant to believe that—or maybe, more accurately, allow it. I had wrapped my identity up into the idea of daily sharing. It wasn’t just what I did; it felt like who I was.
I was someone who regularly helped people, and this gave me a sense of meaning. The connection and, yes, the praise I received from my regular writing fueled me, motivated me, and in times of trouble, sustained me.
My presence here was the foundation of my life, with all else dancing around it.