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Can't Change It

Sunday, August 28, 2016
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Can’t Change It

Over the last 8 years of widowhood, I have adopted various sayings to help articulate some of the things I have been feeling or dealing with. Some remain, some I grew out of, and others evolved over time. When I was feeling overwhelmed, I used these catch phrases as a means to compartmentalize or blow off steam. One phrase, It Is What It Is, became my mantra.  When I was feeling angry at the stupidity of people’s words, I uttered “it is what it is” under my breath; when I felt inadequate because I couldn’t perform everything a solo widowed parent had to contend with, I let myself off the hook with it; when I just didn’t give a crap anymore and wanted to throw in the towel…there it was. I used it so often I actually bought 4” wooden letters, painted them, and hung them on my bedroom wall (where they remain today). I looked at it on difficult nights before I went to bed and took a deep breath.

While “It Is What It Is” still applies to many of the issues I deal with, it feels old and tired. Lately I have tried to adopt a different mindset. I am working on being healthier, on changing things about myself that I feel need improving, and on being more positive and patient. I have tried to reflect on all the energy expended on things that, really, just can’t be changed, and how that is wasted time and energy on my part. It is hard to look at yourself and see the things you need to do to change; it’s even harder to execute those changes. But I am trying, really trying, to do that.

In doing so, I have starting using a new saying: Can’t change it. It sounds strange, but accepting that there are things you cannot change is sort of liberating. It becomes about making choices. If someone cuts me off, I can chose to let it ruin my day, get angry, and hold on to the negative aftereffects, or I can just accept that I can’t change what that person did, but choose to change how I deal with it. “Can’t change it” allows me to let it roll off my back, get on with my day, and move forward. It is hard to change old habits, but it allows me to use my time and energy for more positive endeavors.

I am trying to apply this to all the old hurts and issues that remain from my past, and the regrets I still harbor from losing Joe. All those unresolved feelings I carry, like a weighted pack on my back. I’m tired and weary of not lightening that load, of hauling it around, of dismissing it as “it is what it is” (or it was what it was). Looking honestly at all the crap I have been holding on to, figuring out how to get rid of it, and learning how to say “can’t change it” has given me a lighter load to carry. I can’t go back, I can’t change it, and I can’t truly move forward dragging it around with me all the time. So learning to examine it, give it light, acknowledge it, and moving on gives me a peace I’ve been needing.  It’s an exhaustive, tedious process, but with each step I take, I lighten the load. “Can’t change it” really becomes “Can change it” when you put in the work and let things go. Wish me luck…change is hard work.

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