“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” — C. S. Lewis
Remember that scene in the movie, Forrest Gump, when Forrest decides to run…and run… and run? He just keeps running for days, weeks, maybe months. Then he stops: “I don’t feel like running anymore.”
Sometimes we live our lives a bit like Forrest except we don’t stop running, even long after maybe we should have stopped. Are we brave enough to really know ourselves, even love the men we see in the mirror enough to ask ourselves that question especially when our life is screaming at us: “You’ve earned the right not to run, but to gracefully walk into a world you deserve but, perhaps, thought you didn’t? When I say “earn” I mean you did the hard work of knowing yourself enough to face the trauma and fear that may have been holding you back. Are you a Warrior? At least a Brave? Ever wonder why they use the term: “ Brave?”
I had a long talk with an executive recruiter the other day. We were contemporaries of “a certain age.” I was telling him about my life after retirement-a life I’m only beginning to embrace at 71, and, no, I’m not working 9-5 in another job nor am I playing golf. I’m on a quest to gain a bit of understanding about who I am now so I might be able to contribute in thanks to God for the life I have. “What would I do if I didn’t do this?” He said. “I don’t know. If you like it, heck…keep doing it. “Nothing like satisfaction.
I switched careers when I was 49 and experienced a professional life I never could’ve dreamed. Occasionally I talk to one of my best friends who retired from my previous profession of 30 years. He did just fine. Who am I to judge? But when I consider if I had stayed in that business- quite narrow in my opinion- I absolutely shudder and thank God for leaving as tough as it was at the time.
I think of my adult son. He was recruited before he left law school into a prestigious DC law firm. After one year, he left joining the Civil Rights Division of DOJ at a third the salary. He never looked back a as he lives a wonderful family life balancing his profession and his creative pursuits.
I have spent many years dedicated to the American fire service during my career and after my retirement. I’ve led fire service organizations, written volumes on the profession, addressed hundreds of fire officers at conferences and at the US Fire Academy. Many people have told me they’ve never seen anyone who loved the fire service so much. But there comes a time to move to the next calling. Not a profession or an advocation. This time the calling is coming from “inside the house.” I consider the decision to move on from that passion and love a very healthy sign.
Now we come to relationships. This one is probably the most challenging. How do you know if you should move on? Well, I think if you should discover over much time, giving it everything you’ve got…and then some. But when you know that you literally can no longer stay then you make that decision to let go and move on. I don’t think it matters how old you are, especially if you are in —— what you know —— is a relationship that’s hurting you. Sometimes it almost takes a lifetime to figure this out.
“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.”
-Daphne Rose Kingma
When it’s time, it’s time. It’s the bravest thing you’ll ever do and there are no guarantees except one: if you don’t let go, you will continue to get what you’ve got.
In my experience —— If that thought scares you more than letting go, then you, my friend, are on your way.