Letting go of “things” is always tricky. Letting go of your first love can be painful. Letting go of your first car can be either sad or exciting. Letting go of a childhood toy is sometimes difficult. As a kid, I have no clue why, I loved blue bears. Yep, bears that were blue. And for some strange reason, I still have like three in a box somewhere. OK, maybe they’re in plain sight in my closet.
As humans, sometimes we become so attached to something that letting go is not an option. When I was younger, my main goal was to make it to the Winter Olympics and I was training to do just that. It was the biggest dream that I had: race in the Olympics and win a medal. Unfortunately, the step before the Olympic Team was the USSA Team (United States Skiing Association).
Unfortunately, at the time, the USSA Team cost a lot of money, and amateurs were not yet allowed to have sponsors. You had to pay your own way. And back then, not a lot of people in Lake Tahoe had a ton of money to spend. But a couple of families did, and those kids made the team. And one of them went on to the Olympics.
I remember watching that year and being so destroyed from not being able to be there. And watching skiers that I knew I could beat be there because they had the money that I didn’t.
I stopped skiing all together. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. For the next decade, yes I said DECADE, I couldn’t watch the Winter Olympics. Every time they rolled around, I conveniently found something else to do. The pain was just too much to handle.
Then one day, out of nowhere, our youth group at church decided to go on a ski trip. I was one of the leaders, so naturally I had to go. We went to a ski hill in Indiana. Now, I was still new to the South, but I was pretty sure there weren’t any ski hills in Indiana. I was wrong. We headed to Paoli Peaks, which has a vertical drop equal to my driveway, and happens to be in the middle of what seemed like hayfields.
But hey, there we were. For the first time in a decade, I was skiing. Well, I would stand at the top of the hill and my ski tips were already at the bottom, sooooo. Somewhere in that day of teaching Tennessee kids how to ski, I remembered something … skiing. I really missed skiing! In fact, I wanted to be crashing gates right then!
What happened? Why did it take me so long to get back on the slopes …. or… plains as it were? The truth? I allowed the pain of the past to keep me from enjoying my future.
I believe it was the next year that I was back on the slopes. Not only was I skiing, but I picked a place that had racing available, where you compared your times to Olympic skiers. Bronze, silver, and gold were given out for great runs. They handed out platinum if you were close to the Olympic skier’s time that was set at the beginning of the year.
Within four runs, I had a gold. Later that afternoon, I had the platinum. I was on cloud nine!!! It felt like I was a kid all over again. Why did I allow that stupid pain to keep me from experiencing this awesome excitement? What a dork I was!!
From that moment on, I’ve tried to find the things that are holding me back and incinerate them when possible. With some, I’ve done really well. Others? Ugh!!! Not so much. But I can honestly tell you that when I have succeeded at letting go, my life is considerably better for it.
Question: How has letting go, or not letting go, affected your life?