I once heard someone describe a situation where two people had been in a romantic relationship and the couple made a mutual decision to end the relationship. They decided to get their friends together and throw a party to celebrate the time they had together. I thought this was interesting and in opposition to what I hear of so many long term relationships that end. Bitter arguing and tumultuous divorces seem to mark the final stages of many romances. It’s almost as if in order to let go of something that has been a long term part of our lives, we have to get to a point where we hate it.
Of course, we have relationships with many things: people, material possessions, food/drink, places etc. In the last year I have been entertaining the idea of moving to a new city. Several months ago I felt myself becoming angry and bitter towards this city I’ve com to love, Tacoma, WA. I was frustrated by the many fruitless attempts I’ve made at dating. I was frustrated by the lack of traction in my business as a speaker. I’ve been a single man for the entire time I’ve lived in this city and I’ve struggled to build a real income for the entire time I’ve been in this city. I think it’s okay to be frustrated by both things but I’ve noticed myself using those factors to vilify The City of Tacoma in efforts to justify a potential move. If myself and Tacoma are in a ‘relationship’, there’s a part of me that’s seeking fault in the city in order to justify walking away from it. But… you can find fault anywhere, in anyone, and in anything. It dawns on me that it’s much easier to sever a relationship if you make a demon out of the other side. When I say ‘easy’, I mean that it makes more sense in our own minds to walk away from a situation that is toxic, versus walking away from a situation that is good. Therefore, the temptation is to invent a toxic situation in order to make a hard decision, easier. Because, why would you leave something that is good? Maybe, my instincts are telling me I need to stretch myself with a new environment. Maybe?
I have developed an amazing network of close friends here in Tacoma, WA. I have seen my business as a speaker grow from obscurity to (3 years later) having an article done on me in a local magazine (South Sound Business):
In the time I’ve been here I have become a healthier man physically, mentally, and emotionally. Surprisingly, not only have I developed as a speaker but I have developed a joy in the written (or typed) word. I grew up hating writing but now I love it! I think more so than speaking and presenting. These positive developments happened here in Grit City and there’s no denying that I have an affection for the Pacific North West (PNW). However, my instincts may be telling me that it’s time to pick up and go elsewhere. I’m still not at a definitive decision but in large part I think that’s because I want there to be some obvious toxicity that makes me feel that I’m not welcome here. That makes the decision easy, right? Well, that’s probably not coming. The truth is, I love it here and it would be hard to walk away from. It also seems weird to leave when my business is just starting to get some traction but something inside me just isn’t settled anymore.
If I do make the choice to leave in the next year or two, I leave on good terms. If their is bitterness, I have to believe that it’s bitterness that I have created in efforts to make the split make more logical sense. Faith in God used to play such a powerful role in situations like this because I could lay the burden of responsibility for the decision, in the hands of the almighty. I don’t believe in God anymore, so the choice to leave rests squarely on my shoulders. This is a good thing because it represents an opportunity to practice the personal ownership that I advocate for so heavily.
Do we have to hate something in order to end our relationship with it?
Do we have to stay with something we love intensely, forever?
Does separation always have to make logical sense?
Do our gut feelings tell us deep things that are beyond our rational comprehension?