Let it go

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Saturday, April 26, 2014


I RECENTLY ran into a friend whom I hardly see since we live on different continents. She looked great, seemed happy, calmly told her husband she needed 10 minutes more when he came to tell her it was time to go.

We were at a party. It was 7:30 in the evening but she said they had to leave because senior citizens find it difficult to drive in the dark. I was a little taken aback.

“How old are you?” I asked. “61,” she replied. “You’re kidding, right?”

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She was not kidding. She didn’t look a day over 50. “What’s your secret?” I asked. “I’m like Teflon. Nothing sticks to me. When I was young, I used to worry so much about everything, how I looked, what people thought of me, etc… Now, I just take everything in stride.”

Wow. What a simple formula for living. What an inspiration. What a good lesson for me to learn.

I was born neurotic. I worry incessantly about everything—not so much about what people think of me but more of how things will work out.

Often, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of tasks ahead of me, whether it’s simply cleaning out my desk or designing a building.

I tend to overthink about what could possibly happen. And since I almost always explore all the possibilities, I make myself physically ill simply by thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong in an
event I am planning or in a project I am involved in.

I know. It’s insanity. But this is me. And this is the world I live in. Obviously, it’s not the best recipe for mental fitness.

Of course, in my lucid moments, I do realize there is no point in worrying about things I can’t control—the weather, the traffic, illness, strife in the world.

I do understand that what I need to let go of is my insane desire for perfection. I like to make plans and I like to see those plans come into perfect fruition. This is the root of my neurosis. Through the years, I have learned to somewhat let go of this desire for perfection but unfortunately, inefficiency and stupidity as well as laziness still drive me up the wall.

I don’t like it when people don’t understand instructions or don’t pay attention. I don’t like it when people don’t make plans or don’t prioritize their tasks on a daily basis. I don’t like it when people waste time or procrastinate. I can forgive a lack of intelligence but I
cannot stand indolence.

But then I meet this friend who looks fabulous at 61 and I’m thinking about how I’d love to look this wonderful at that age if I’m still around. I should learn to let go—of the little things that don’t really matter. Hmm… but everything matters to me. So this is not going to be easy.

It’s important for me to do everything well—whether it’s scrubbing a toilet bowl or writing a thesis. But I guess it’s also important to learn to let go for wellness’ sake.

I’ve got to trim the “to do list.” And I will start doing it now. I just need to vacuum the entire house tomorrow and clean one more bathroom. I will leave the house repainting and garage make-over for next year. I
am, after all, on vacation.

I know. Let it go. It’s just easier said than done. But I will think about my friend who looks fabulous at 61. (Email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com, Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 27, 2014.

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