Sometimes we hold on so much to what could be that we could be at risk of letting something amazing pass us by.
My relationship with my ex-husband lasted for 17 years, we had our two wonderful sons but our relationship and our marriage was built on a lot on 'what if's' and we both spent a long time thinking that when this changed, or that stopped then we'd be happy. Instead, I made the decision that I would be happy, and within a few months my marriage ended horribly.
After the sale of our family home I moved into a beautiful town-house, it was everything I hoped it would be and after some time my now partner moved in bringing with him his two sons. A couple of years later and we moved into a Windmill, determined and hopeful that this would be our forever home. Having invested all of our money into our businesses we moved into the windmill as a rental, the landlord promising he'd sell in a couple of years, perfect timing for us.
The property is beautiful, quirky and full of character, it's Grade II listed, has stunning outside space and the most beautiful living space I've ever seen. On the outside, and most of the inside it's the perfect home. But, look too closely and the cracks begin to show. On days that it rains we need to put pans on the floor in some of the rooms. Depending on the direction of the rain the upstairs rooms form big damp patches. The drains, not on mains sewers, back up, a lot, and often the front driveway starts to look like an unattractive swimming pool.
For three years we've been waiting for the repairs that are promised on a monthly basis and this year we waited for our chance to buy, and nothing.
During lockdown and given the amount of time we were spending in the property, despite the beauty and the quirkiness, we began to realise that we needed something more practical, particularly if this lockdown life was going to continue or hit again. And so we started looking. And six months later we've found a house. It's not pretty from the front, it doesn't have the quirkiness or grandeur of the Windmill and it's lacking the wow feature, but it's practical, homely, gives us everything we need and more, and so we moved the process forward.
Then our landlord called to say he'd been thinking and he'd like to sell, next year, asking if we would be interested. And for a moment, we considered it. But after years of broken promises and no action, we've decided to say farewell to the fairytale and move into a home that works for us, and that doesn't have the hidden issues of the Mill. That doesn't mean we're not sad to be leaving, but it's too little too late and it's time to move on. We've stopped waiting for 'someday' and made today the time for change.
How often have you stayed in a relationship hoping that 'one day' everything will be fine, and yet despite your best efforts nothing changes? And yet when you decide to end things, the promises of change start to manifest?
How long have you stayed at that company because of the promises that have been made to you, where you want to make things work and where you hoped you'd always have a place, only to find out that the wait is to continue? And yet when you've made your mind up to start looking elsewhere the pay rise or development you've been waiting for all suddenly start to come your way?
How often have you kept someone in your company because you like them, in the hope that with a little more time they'd be great, only to find out that it won't happen no matter how much time and support you give them?
How often have you been waiting for the 'right moment' to get something started, to create a new habit or make a change, only to find out the moment has passed and you should have done it years ago? Yet realise that now is a good a day as any to do something and to let go of what's holding you back.
It's natural to hope for the best. It's natural to want to wait for things to change. It's natural to want to hold onto what we love. But we also need to learn when to let go, and that's not always easy. We can find ourselves in the midst of 'what if's', and surrounded by the 'buts' and 'maybe's', but if we're really valued, and respected and cared for, we won't need to wait. Because in the right relationships, in the right companies and in the right environments we can flourish. We don't need to be fixing things constantly, or trying to fitting in, or trying to be be heard, or trying to get what we know we deserve.
For many years I grew frustrated by the saying 'it doesn't open if it's not your door', because surely if you've decided that it's your door then it should damn well open for you. And then I discovered what happens when it was my door, and I stopped trying the ones that weren't.
I won't work with a client, or for an employer, or stay in a relationship that isn't for me because I know I'm worth more than that. But I did let my heart rule my head when it came to the Windmill. I was still hoping for the fairytale and it's time to let that go.
There are lessons all around us. Sometimes we learn fast, others we learn slow. Sometimes it's the wait that worth it, and sometimes it's the wait that's holding us back. Sometimes we need to hold on and fight, and sometimes we need to focus our time and energy on the things that are right.
Where could you let go to move forward?