Recently we heard of a woman who, with each new decade, gives up something she hates. She stopped dying her hair. Ten years later, she stopped wearing the dresses she felt obligated to wear in her professional life.

At first we wondered why she only gave up things she hated every decade; why so slow to act when “life is so short”?

When we imagined things we might give up, we realized that it could take serious time for us to a) be truly ready to give a thing up  and b) to unwind the obligation/or pattern/or identity that attends it.

We’d been making assumptions based on the knee-jerk, often violent “Just-do-it” notion of personal change and self-direction. Bleh.

Why shouldn’t the timing of letting something go be whatever works for a person’s sense of rightness? Why not be gentle with ourselves in the changes we make? 

We remembered a piece of Elizabeth Gilbert wisdom:

I have never seen any life transformation that

didn’t begin with the person in question finally

getting tired of their own bullshit.

Or some lot of bullshit, for sure.

It can be mighty illuminating to consider what we hate in our life and would like to give up, and then how and when to start doing that.

(Or is it hate we need to give up? Isn’t there violence in hating a part of ourself?)


What is the natural course of letting go of something?


(Video link here.)

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3 replies on “Every Decade, She Gives Up Something She Hates

  1. well,
    i guess this means:
    you’ll put up with us,
    …for a couple of more years. ?

  2. Thankfully, I have NEVER thought of Improvised Life as “hated”, even when it is 11 pm and I’m waiting for something to come to me to write. Its readers (like you) give me the energy.

  3. What a thoughtful, provocative post… If we’re gentle with ourselves, we’ll be more gentle with others. It’s so valuable to help us remember that we change when we’re ready. Thank you!

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