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Knowing when to let go…

Emma Grey

“Be like 18-year-olds with the world at our feet, because it is. The world is at our feet every day that we wake up, breathing.’

My daughter and her best friend had a combined 18th party on the weekend for an exclusive group of eleventy-hundred of their nearest and dearest. It was everything you imagine, minus the police (which I’d been imagining) and I can’t thank my daughter’s best friend’s parents enough for hosting it at their place. 

In stark contrast, I spent the rest of the weekend in PJs, binge-watching The Crown on Netflix. I was particularly intrigued by the way Edward VIII’s abdication story was portrayed and the scene that really got me was after he’d watched the Queen’s coronation on TV in America, and he played his bagpipes in the garden, crying over what he had given up for love. 

Knowing when to let go of something that, in other circumstances, you might have dearly wanted, is really hard. It’s that ‘sliding doors’ moment, and we face it more often than we realise — each time we’re presented with an opportunity, because there’s usually a cost involved. 

It’s tempting to invest a lot of energy convincing ourselves that we’ve made the right decision. It’s tempting to spend a lot of time in regret. 

Our lives are as unpredictable and as forwards-and-backwards as a journey around a snakes and ladders board. We make the best choices we can, based on where we are at the time. 

Agonising over ‘what might have been’ can be soul-destroying. Sometimes the choice isn’t ‘which do I want more?’ but ‘which will I miss less?’ 

Once we’ve chosen, own the choices we make. Throw ourselves ‘all in’. Go towards the experiences we’ve picked, with our faces forward, rather than stumbling in our path because we’re constantly looking back. 

Be like 18-year-olds with the world at our feet, because it is. The world is at our feet every day that we wake up, breathing. We get to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to a great proportion of what goes on in our lives (not all of it, of course, but usually much more than we give credit for). That’s how we shape better lives and find we are much less ‘trapped’ than it sometimes feels. 

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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