Letting Go and Moving Foward
I have been wanting to share one of my latest decorating projects with you and the story behind it. I’m still working on decorating our mostly bare walls almost 3 years after moving into our house, but if you saw it down to the studs, you’d understand that it hasn’t been finished and ready to decorate until about 1 year ago. I’m so happy with how it turned out, and the best part is…I bought this US Map corkboard at an auction for $1!! It was a simple project, I had it framed in black to match our decor and added these fun little pins. Ta-dah! I had been looking for one of these for awhile, and then I stumbled upon this one. I’m pretty sure it was fate. I was trying to find something just like this to give my husband for our 1 year anniversary, but couldn’t at the time and I always wanted to have something to keep track of all the places we have visited together. This one doesn’t include the international travel, but I’m okay with that for now.
This project was really important to me and although it looks like a simple piece of decor, it has a lot of meaning behind it. I will start by saying, the cork board only includes the places that we have traveled TOGETHER. It was very tempting for me to add places that I’ve been, and he’s been, separately, before we met…but I knew that it just wouldn’t be right. Part of me wanted it to look “more impressive” or just allow me to use more of those awesome pins (that I found at Target!), but I used all my self-control not to! It was kind of depressing to look at it at first, knowing I’ve seen so many places that I don’t get to mark on the map. Which leads me to the real story behind this piece of decor…and a little more on the journey of how my husband and I met.
The Journey: When I was a kid, compared to my friend’s parents, my parents were old (from a child’s perspective). They met when they were 24-25, married at 25-26, and had a family. I was child #4 born when my mom was 32. For whatever reason, that seemed like an important concept in my mind…my parents were older than most of my friend’s parents. So, when I turned 26 and was single, I had a quarter-life crisis that I was OLD, not married and no children, I was so far behind and ‘off-track’ in life. What had seemed so old to me as a child, had sneaked up on me somehow and all of the sudden, I was way behind. I was going back to college and living with my parents, while many of my peers had families with children. Then I met my husband and things quickly turned around. Fast forward a couple years and I graduated from college, got married, bought a farm and moved within a matter of 6 months!
Things were ‘back on track’ and going great. However, I was at a home decor shop one day and saw a sign “If I had my life to live over again, I’d find you sooner, so I could love you longer”, and broke down in tears. I instantly felt sad, so much regret, resentful of why things happened the way they did, and not they way I wanted them to. Why didn’t I get to share my twenties with my husband? Why did I do so much traveling without him? Why did I waste so much time with the wrong people and not spending it with the right one? It instantly deflated my happiness and joy. Instead of thinking of it as a happy saying, to me, it triggered regret and questions of “WHY?” I confessed this to my husband and although I knew it was pointless to think this way, part of me couldn’t help it. What I realized from all of this is that they biggest thief of joy and happiness is regret and letting the past continue to live in your current life. I couldn’t change that I was unable to meet my husband sooner, I couldn’t change any of it. And although it is hard to do (and I constantly need to remind myself of this), it is so important to let go of the past.
There’s no need to dwell on shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’s… And ultimately, there’s no going back, only forward. This piece of decor I saw in the shop that day, is very flawed…it focuses on changing something that we can’t change. End. of. story.
I am a big believer in “signs” and as I was sitting in church last weekend listening to the message, I knew I needed to hear it. The message was that forgiveness isn’t just for the person/people who have done us wrong…forgiveness is also for us. It helps us move on, let go and be free from the past. It is for our own peace of mind and mental health. The message really hit home and was a reminder of what I had heard a long time ago. I think this is HUGE in marriages, past relationships, family relationships, etc. If you are still holding on to the past, especially hurt or pain, you can’t let joy and happiness into your current and future life.
We’ve all seen the guy or girl who was awesome in high school, and somehow they’re still in that “high school” mentality and the world passes them by. They are still living their “glory days” but never really amounted to much beyond high school. Well, that’s because they were too busy living in the past that they couldn’t see the future that was ahead of them. I know that is an example from a cheesy, chic-flick movie we’ve all seen at some point, but the message really applies to everyone. At some point we hit a road block that knocks us off track, or stays with us longer than it should. And it is so important to not hold onto it longer than necessary, so we allow the new opportunities into our lives.
And that leads back to my USA map cork board that started out depressing and frustrating…Now, every time I look at it, I see opportunities. It represents all the places I still get to explore with my husband, and the new memories we will get to make together. It lifts me up each time I see it, and helps me focus on the here and now…and not to hold onto the past.