With winter commonly comes a slump, leaving us dwelling on life during happier times. It's comforting to live in the past, but we have to learn to let go and be present. As we let go of what life was, we finally begin to appreciate life for what it is.
Every winter season, I fall into a pretty bad rut, a rut of comparing my current life (school everyday and cold weather) to happier, past experiences. Within those comparisons, I find myself going through old journal entries, pictures, and videos to bring me back to that ‘happy place’, or at least the closest I can get. Sometimes I feel it pulls me out of the rut, temporarily, giving me hope that maybe I'll soon feel the way I did on those days again. I am sure many of you have experienced similar feelings within this winter season - what can we do about it?
A few weeks ago, I realized that my present life will never be filled with new, incredible memories if I am stuck thinking about old memories simply to feel something. Even though it may be comforting to cope by living in past experiences, they are incomparable to the present, as circumstances change; it is essentially an unfair comparison. Continuing to hold onto memories and people no longer around won’t permit anything new to be welcomed in.
On the contrary, I understand it may take time to let things go, but how much time should we hold on for? I find myself using time as an excuse, when in reality I am just clinging onto this state of dwelling because it allows me to feel some sort of happiness within this unbearable slump.
Letting go of memories is difficult within itself, but letting go of people is the hardest of all. People aren’t supposed to be around forever - no one is. They serve their time and will one day leave for a reason. It can be tempting to make an effort to weave people back into our lives, but it is up to the universe to decide if/when they will come back. People meant to be in our lives will always find their way to us when we’re least expecting it, but that only happens if we let go.
Some of you may be thinking: if I miss them, I shouldn't disregard those feelings. And you're right - you shouldn't. Acknowledge your emotions, but don't hold onto them longer than they were meant to stay. Learning to be okay with the circumstances is crucial, or else we become stuck in a cycle of dwelling, withholding newer relationships. Obsessing over the past leaves us thinking of what life was, what it could've been, but instead, we should be focusing on what it is, moreover what it could be, with those who currently surround us.
Letting go. Moving on. Acceptance. That’s my theme for this next month, and I inspire you to take on this theme too. You’re probably wondering: How do I accept the past and stop dwelling? That’s a question I've been facing for a while now, but I think it comes through sacrificing our urge to control or fix things, and instead being okay with our current state - acceptance.
Acceptance will only be reached when we stop holding onto feelings that have overstayed their welcome. Channeling our energy into ourselves through grounding is the key to letting go of these emotions. Reading, journaling, and running (all examples of grounding) provide me with clarity and peace of mind - presence. Working to be present allows us to let go and gain clarity, and with clarity comes the acceptance we are looking for. As you work to let go of what life was, you’ll begin to appreciate life for what it is.