Sometimes, You Have to Let Go and Move On
This took me a long time to figure out but I’m going to share it so it won’t take anyone else forever to realize this truth. You cannot, and I mean cannot in every sense of the word, make a friend care about anything. You can’t make them care about you or what’s happening in your life and for sure you can’t make them care about themselves and what’s happening in their lives if they don’t want to.
If you’ve ever had an addict, drugs or alcohol or anything else, in your family or if they’re a friend you’ve come up against this. It is one of the hardest things to deal with. It is human nature to want to help, to “fix” whatever is wrong – at least it’s mine.
It happened with a friend of mine a long time ago and until that person decided to deal with their own issue it didn’t get resolved. I was lucky; they did decide to change before their behavior killed them. The old saying that someone has to hit bottom before they can find their way up is very true.
But, I’ve also been faced with a friend who was participating in some really bad behavior who was convinced they were just fine and didn’t want or need help to quit. It didn’t matter how many wonderful talks we would have on the subject where they would agree that perhaps they weren’t really being that wise in their choices and I would be hopeful that they would change.
I finally had to give up on them and remove them from my life. I gave up not because I didn’t care about them anymore but because they didn’t care about themselves. I had to recognize it and accept it. Cutting them out of my life wasn’t easy, it sure didn’t mean I still didn’t love them but it did make my life easier. You can only hit your head against a brick wall so many times before you realize that if you stop you’ll feel better.
Thrilled to be asked by LivingBetter50 to kick off their series on Extraordinary Women, on February 10. These interviews came at a great time for me – during the launch of my brand expansion! The interviews themselves: a truly humbling experience. Just to be included in this type of series is a validation of everything I’ve been working on over the last year.
One of their questions made me pause: “How did you push past any fears that came up when making the change from restaurateur to launching Food, Family & Friends Over 40?” There are always those little moments of ‘fear of failure’ that come when you start something new. Fear will make anyone doubt their choices, but you can’t change history – there’s no point in looking back. The initial reaction has been fabulous and it’s helped me confirm that I AM on the right track. The whole experience has only served as fuel for the fire under me to continue this path, to share what I know and persist in making this journey through the second half of my life truly the best half.
For this Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to bring up Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher who said that the only constant in life is change. He was SO right – thank goodness!
I have found in my life that for all of the things that seem to stay the same; family, kids, friends; it all can change, and in a blink of an eye too. In fact, if you really look around, you find the old philosopher’s perspective everywhere. It seems then that for me to keep a healthy outlook on living means that I have to be open to these changes. Right? Several of them have happened to me in the last several years: divorce, moving (three times), and a major career change. This is not to say that these changes came easily: they did not.
Most of these changes (except moving out for 3 months due to a flood) were my choice but just because I chose to do them didn’t mean they were without pain or sadness, some of which still comes and goes. It probably always will just to lessening degrees (I hope).
The point is that even though change is inevitable, it’s how we deal with the change that will define how we move through this life. If we choose to wallow in the sadness and become stuck instead of acknowledging it, accepting it and moving through it, however slowly the moving may be, we will walk around with the proverbial rain cloud over our heads and be perpetually sad. If this sounds like a great idea to you, have at it. Personally, I don’t love the look. I don’t have any shoes to go with it for starters, and I hate carrying an umbrella wherever I go.
People have said to me that I have moved through these multiple transitions with grace. I’m not that good, I just choose to do my screaming and internal struggle out of the public eye-behavior strictly reserved for close friends, but if that’s how they see me who am I to argue? I say thank you as humbly as possible and put one foot in front of the other moving forward. My theory is that if I continue to move forward then, the change I didn’t like will change again, and I hopefully will like the new one better. Doesn’t that sound like a better idea?
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and when it does come I will have been single for the last three of them. It’s not exactly the most fun day- evening thing to look forward to if you don’t have a significant other in your life. But U.S. retailers really push the holiday anyhow.
February 14th is one of the busiest days at restaurants; at least, it always was at mine and if anyone has ever tried to get last-minute dinner reservations anywhere for that night you’ve seen that I’m right. We are bombarded by “reminders” to get a gift, card, flowers – whatever – for the other person in our lives. What about all of us “singles” out there who (by choice or otherwise) are alone on that day?
Here’s what I’ve decided. This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to invite a group of my friends over, and we will laugh a lot, munch on our favorite finger foods but, most importantly of all, we will raise a glass of bubbles (maybe a few glasses) to friendship! In many respects, my group of friends is my significant other. They laugh with me and cry with me; they support me when I need the back-up. They love me (not unconditionally but with empathy and understanding), they are always there for me. Oh, and they tell me when I’m completely full of it (even if it’s not what I want to hear). I depend on their honesty and clear sight. If that’s not a good part of what we all look for in a significant other, then I’m not sure what is. It’s not everything but it’s a lot, and I’m lucky to have this group of women in my life – my friends – my sisters by choice. Just sayin’.
The happiness that we can bring to ourselves.
I’ve always found it interesting when someone says to me, “that person made me so unhappy”. What I’ve found in my life and tried to instill in my sons’ is that their happiness is theirs – not someone else’s to either make or deny.
This is an absolute truth. If you go through this life not keeping the power of your happiness for yourself, but giving that power to others, you will unwittingly be giving them the ability to control your life. For many of us, when we’re not happy we don’t function very well. It affects how we are with everything and everyone around us – family and loved ones included. I don’t know about you but I’d rather be the one who has that power over me. I’m told I look a lot better with a smile on my face and when I’m smiling, people react to me in a much more positive manner. Try it in an elevator in New York City sometime!