Sometimes you have to leave things just as messy as when you found them. This is a hard concept for my Type A personality to grasp. In fact, I push against this concept with every fiber of my being. I don’t like loose ends. They seem sloppy, ill prepared, like I wasn’t quite up for the challenge, so a lack of success falls on my shoulders. But I’ve recently learned, this simply is not true.
Whenever I’ve transitioned from one stage of my life to the next, it has generally been on my terms. I chose the day to “move on” from a project/job/person. It was always mutually beneficial, you see. I was able to tidy up and package things just so, leaving things/staff/people well equipped in my wake. It was important to me to prove my vitality. It showed that a situation/organization/person was better off for having been associated with me. That I was important. That I mattered.
This logic supposes that I always have the control, which, as evidenced in the Genesis of Living Wide, is flawed. Not always is there a place for everything and everything is in its place. Sometimes you find yourself in an “I’ve done everything I know how to do, I’ve done everything right. Why is this not working? Why can’t I fix it?” situation. Sometimes the needle simply won’t budge. Even if you’ve given your best. Even after you’ve attempted to bargain for a better outcome. And yes, even when you’ve begged a higher power to make it all work out.
When I came to this realization, I didn’t want to believe it at first. In my mind, there is always an answer. If you can’t go around a wall, you go over it, under it, and, when necessary, through it. Obstacles are not impossibilities, they are simply obstructions. But for every rule, there is an exception, I guess. A situation or circumstance that is much bigger than you and your talent/drive/ambition/creativity/stubbornness. And when that happens, you have to make a decision. Do you press on until you completely burn out, or do you leave said person/place/thing just as messy as when you found them and move on.
Many years ago, a succinct little prayer started making the rounds:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Now the mantra of most groups devoted to battling addiction, this prayer serves as a reminder that we are human. We are not limitless or perfect. Sometimes, things will not change because of our associations. Sometimes there are loose ends. And sometimes, we were meant to simply learn from a messy situation and grow because of it. Living wide isn’t about the vanity of a perfect exit and its affirmation of your value. It’s about accepting those things you cannot change just as easily as those you can and using that knowledge to grow your horizon.