This past weekend, my daughter and I spent some time in her room sorting through books she no longer reads. We had three piles: Keep, Donate and Memories. The “Memories” books would be put into storage—they no longer were age-appropriate, but they held sentimental value. As we sorted books, our conversation went like this:
Me: “What category?”
Me: <aghast> “What?! But honey, you used to love this book.”
Kid: <disdainfully> “Yeah, Mom, when I was like, THREE.”
My second grader was ready to move on. I was not.
It can be hard to know when to let go. Memories – and the emotions they evoke – are powerful forces for keeping us where we are.
Sometimes, it’s (relatively) easy to make the move – the eight-year-old no longer needs books designed for a preschooler. It was fun while it lasted, but she’s moved on. Now it’s time for her mother to do the same.
Other times, it’s a lot harder.
Are you thinking it it’s time to move on, but aren’t completely sure? Here are ten signs that may be time for you to put your current situation into a Memories box:
- It’s not fun anymore.
- You can’t find anything positive to say about the experience.
- The people you used to enjoy now annoy you.
- You’re starting to do subversive things like “forgetting” tasks, just to make it interesting and see who notices.
- The work drains you.
- You just don’t care, even though you should.
- The financial benefit of staying doesn’t justify doing so.
- You’re self-medicating.
- You’re staying because the thought of leaving makes you feel guilty.
- Everyone that you care about has already moved on.
There are probably a whole bunch of reasons you can use to convince yourself to stay, but keep this in mind: if you aren’t showing up with your best work, how is that a good thing? Nobody benefits from you hanging on to “what used to be”. If you know that it’s time for you to make a move, do yourself and everybody around you a favor: make a plan for your exit. There’s no need to jump ship tomorrow, but making that choice to move to a better place will give you courage to take the next step.
In making this plan, you will be a person of integrity who has set a course for new adventures. Moving on doesn’t mean you forget where you’ve been; it means you’ve given the past its rightful place in your life’s journey.
photo credit: istockphoto.com