The Gift of Loss

Have you ever lost something, a relationship, an object, a job, only to realize after some time has passed how much you don’t miss it? That is the beautiful gift of loss, my friends.

Now there are some losses for which recovery is impossible. You carry those burdens forever. We learn different things from those losses. To love more, to be more present, to put your phone down. Those aren’t the losses I’m talking about here.

The realization of exactly how much something meant to you is an invaluable thing. It helps you heal. It helps you assess. It helps you move on.

Sometimes the moment of realization comes on quickly, out of nowhere. You could be picking up your kids from school, interviewing for a new gig, or enjoying time alone when it hits you: you are completely out of shits for that lame ass situation.

And it’s like a weight lifting from your back, the jaws of life arriving on scene to set you free, the bartender confirming they do, in fact, have Tito’s. #hallelujah

If you’re on the whole ‘new year=new you’ bandwagon, now is not only an opportunity to try new things (Piyo anyone?) but to let go of old baggage, old heartache, old ideas of what success and happiness and friendship should look like.

In the past few months, a few colleagues of mine have moved on to new opportunities. In some cases, it wasn’t voluntary. I know the feeling. In December of 2008, I found myself ‘exploring new opportunities’ after being unceremoniously let go from my job. At the time, I was miserable. What I didn’t know was just how perfect the timing actually was. I had just graduated with my graduate degree after four painful years of taking one miserable night class at a time because that’s all my credit card could handle. I was lucky enough to be given a severance and within six weeks, I landed a new role in what would propel my career in marketing.  It’s a scary thing to start all over, but the thing is, it happens all the time and it happens to nearly everyone. Embrace the change. Grow from it. One day, you’ll look back on that job and realize what a very small piece of the much bigger picture of your path it was.

Getting over being fired is hard and so is letting go of failing friendships. I find the older I get, though, the easier it becomes. It’s heartbreaking to discover a trusted friendship was, in essence, a fraud but posting passive aggressive memes on Facebook only makes you looks like an attention-seeking cry bag. Even though some of them are funny! The thing is, people change, they grow apart, and their actions are rarely a reflection of those they hurt (unless you really are just a giant PITA) but rather of their own weaknesses. They’re trying to manage those weaknesses and doing the best they can.  Forgive them and move on. Forgiving them doesn’t mean continuing to put up with their crap. It means letting go of what you thought that friendship was and ignoring their texts while you hang out with people who really love and support you.

Losing things is a part of life. No doubt an uncomfortable part, but an unavoidable part. So the next time it occurs to you how much you haven’t been thinking about someone or something, take a moment to recognize and appreciate that moment. It’s a wonderful thing and it doesn’t always happen.

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