Six years ago, I bought myself my first pair of gold hoop earrings. And I loved them. Soon after my purchase, I lost one. To make a long story short, I repurchased the same earrings three more times in the next round of years, until I was left with three -- a pair and one backup earring.
All was quiet until one day last summer. When my friend gave me a hug, she accidentally bent one of the earrings. I was now down to one pair and zero backups. When I was at the beach with that same friend last week, I lost one of the earrings. I felt sick inside, and then remembered I still had the bent one. The next day, I put it in my ear, decided it looked good enough, and made my daily trip to Starbucks. While I was there, one of the earrings fell out, but I caught it. I told myself to put it away, since I didn't want to lose it. But instead, I decided to put it back in and not worry about that! I then went to the bank to do my weekly deposits, and when I touched my ear, the earring was gone. I retraced my steps back to Starbucks, and the earring was nowhere to be found.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, but the story is a metaphor for life -- when we talk about the themes of perseverance, attachments, and knowing when it's time to let go, surrender, and make room for the new.
I am someone who attaches easily and strongly, never gives up, and pushes through many obstacles, even if I tire or get scared or hurt. Perseverance comes naturally to me. Letting go does not. And herein lies where I've gotten my biggest life lesson, which is learning when it's actually time to stop trying, to let go, and to make room for new experiences, dreams, and people.
The value of perseverance is priceless. I do believe people give up way too easily on themselves and their dreams, and even on other people. We live in a very impatient, fast-paced society where everyone expects to achieve things quickly. My life has never been that. I've always had great determination, and nothing has come to me before five or six years of working toward it. My Ph.D. program lasted five years, achieving tenure at Kingsborough Community College took five years, getting my book deal took five years, and my private practice started to thrive at about the five- or six-year mark. Had I not pushed through the many obstacles along the way, I never would have achieved my dreams.
On the flip side, there have been many times when I've stayed attached to the outcome for too long and had to get my butt kicked before knowing it was time to let go. It's a delicate balance and a lot of work to know, within us, if we should keep trying, or if it's time to let go. It's a steadiness I have worked hard to achieve.
The lesson (and what I tell my clients over and over) is that we owe it to ourselves to risk and persevere, and try everything we have in our heart. And if it doesn't work out, as long as we did everything we could and didn't sabotage (knowingly or unknowingly), then we have won. We can't account for how others will react, or for the plan of the universe. And once we've turned over every stone, we'll know if it's time to change our course and make a new choice, allowing for something new and wonderful to enter our lives.
So here is how the saga of my gold earring ends. When I realized it'd been six years, I laughed and immediately felt resolved. I persevered, I loved, and I lost, and it's okay. I had a knowing (as I now often do) that it was time to let go and make room for something new.
As of yesterday, I am the proud owner of a new pair of Jennifer Zeuner gold earrings. They cost me $98, and I love them -- just as I always end up loving the new thing that comes my way, once I let go.
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