“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Henry Ellis, 1721 – 1806 The Second Royal Governor of the U.S. State of Georgia
In 1757 Henry Ellis was appointed by the English Commonwealth to replace the very unpopular John Reynolds in Georgia. Ellis’s intelligence, negotiation skills and foresight served him well in the governing of this young American colony. Ellis knew that as he assisted the citizenry to heal from the previous leadership, certain views and past discretions would have to be eliminated while many vital principles, values and standards would have to be maintained for the collective benefit of the people of Georgia. Henry Ellis’s skill at achieving that balance in his role as statesman helped him to eventually become a respected and admired politician.
We can learn much from Henry Ellis’s experience. As we travel on this winding path called life, we will encounter ideas, obsessions, incidents, people, gadgets, possessions and habits. Like the citizens of Georgia, we’ll need to let go of some of these items for our greater good, while others should be clung to tightly to keep us strong.
So how do you know which to keep and which to get rid of? It might not be as challenging as you may think. Your head and heart will tell you if you listen closely enough to each.
There are some pretty obvious things we need to shed. One big one is holding a grudge. Clear out all grudges, and be willing to forgive and forget. The big winner in this practice is you. Free your mind and heart from the stress, anger and anxiety caused by squeezing every ounce of resentment and bitterness out of a particular circumstance or action. It is not worth the angst.
Another thing to toss is worrying about what others think. At this stage of life when you are building an amazing, authentic retirement, why be concerned, burdened and constrained by the opinions of other people? They are not you. And they don’t know you as well as you do. Lead your own life, the one that gives you delight and contentment.
Perhaps you have a belief that needs to get kicked to the curb as well. One belief I definitely know needs to no longer see the light of day is the thought of being unworthy of an incredible life. Wrong! If you have this notion about yourself, stop dwelling on that right now. You are most deserving of an astonishing life. You are made by God in the image of God and while you are flawed, as we all are, and have fallen short of the glory of God, you are no less suitable for enjoying an amazing life of surprise, adventure and meaning.
Then there are those things that you should hold on to, even cling tightly to. One of those things is really good friends. Treasure the friends that make you laugh, the ones that you can count on when you need to bounce around a thought or two and the ones that inspire and encourage you to become your best. Do not let these exceptional people slip out of your life.
Family is another gift to cherish. While you don’t get to choose your family, they do play a role in who you have become and they will be there for you as you navigate through the twists and turns of life. Families can provide a guardrail as you maneuver those sharply banked curves. A good place to hang out and recharge and just be you can be with family. And, they provide a source of joy. For those of you that have grandchildren, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Other things to hold on to are your values and your purpose. Hold these tight and do not let them go. Our values are a personal GPS system, used to guide our lives and to assist us with knowing where our life can have the deepest meaning. When we adhere to our values and purpose for living, our lives become more passionate, fulfilling and authentic. This will also have a profound effect on your happiness and joy.
I believe that a big part of pursuing the fine art of living well is knowing what should stay with you and what should go. Take time to examine each aspect of your life. Maybe even write down in a journal your revelations about what you hold dear and what is holding you back so that you can later revisit, refine and clarify your thoughts and know better what to do moving forward.
Now, go and create or continue enjoying the amazing retired life you richly deserve.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West
Gary A. Weuve, CFP®
Founder and CEO
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