Don’t Let It Go: Let It Be

Don’t Let It Go:  Let It Be

“It’s not a matter of letting go – you would if you could.  Instead of ‘let it go” we should probably say: Let it be.”

–Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jim and I spent Thanksgiving, 2017 with two other couples that we’ve met here in Ocean Pines.  It was the first time in my life that I’ve had Thanksgiving dinner with anyone other than family.  As I reflect on this delightful meal with people who have only recently become an important part of my life, I am struck by the importance of “letting it be.”

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning, I felt very sad.  I thought about my mother and the huge Thanksgiving meals she always prepared for hours in advance.  It was a traditional, American celebration, complete with watching the Macy’s parade on TV while Mom prepared the creamed onions, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole.    We ate in the dining room with the “good” china, silver flatware, and crystal wine glasses.  Mom always set the table with the embroidered tablecloth that my husband and I bought for her in St. Martin.  Everyone knew where they were supposed to sit and we never deviated, year after year.  Dad was at the head of the table, carving the turkey that was ceremoniously placed in front of him.  Dinner conversation often resembled a round-robin interview.  My dad, a newspaper editor, went around the table, asking us about our work, our accomplishments, our views about current events.  Mom was always exhausted by this point and we made sure to compliment her on every dish on the table.

I miss these annual traditions and I miss my parents.  But that was then and this is now.  Our adult children don’t seem to hold the same appreciation for long-held holiday trappings.  So, when we were invited to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal with our new friends, we eagerly accepted.  The six of us all have very different ethnic upbringings – old Richmond southern, Philadelphia Italian, New York German, Baltimore Irish-Catholic, and New England liberal.  We had great fun laughing about customs which seem quaint or even ridiculous today.  But I had a strong feeling that not only were we creating new traditions, we were living life at its mindful best – appreciating the present.

In addition to cherished family memories, many of us find that we can’t cling to our memories of friendships from our pre-retirement lives.  Unless these old friends retire at the same time we do and move to the same community we did, it is unlikely and unreasonable to think we will be as close as we once were.  I will never “let go” of these memories but real-time experiences with new friends who share our current life experiences are more fulfilling.

As we get older, it seems that the quality of our friendships becomes even more important.  Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University who writes the Washington Posts’s Baggage Check column and is the author of “The Friendship Fix,” says that “With self-reflection and increased wisdom comes the realization that we really should maximize the amount of good relationships we have and not spend so much time on the ones that aren’t good,” she  says. )

Facebook can certainly change the nature of our friendships – for better, or for worse.  Recently, as a result of a Facebook connection, I renewed an acquaintance from high school.  We were not close in high school but 45 years later, we realized how much we have in common.  A few weeks ago, she drove the four hours to spend a weekend with us.  We had a ball trash-talking the current President and visiting local sites.  On the other hand, I have lost old friends because they disapproved of some of my Facebook views.  I’m okay with that because true friendship for me now is based on shared values and experiences.

We can let go of people and cherish the memories.  Conversely, we can grab the present with gusto and realize more happiness than we ever imagined.  As the Beatles said, “Whisper the words of wisdom.  Let it be.”    I hope you enjoy the following poem.

From This Perspective


Liliana Kohann

From this perspective
where I am now
I think of the world
different somehow

Things that I walked by
and didn’t see
seem so important
right now to me

All of my worries…
Clouds in my way…
Are not important
I look away

Behind the clouds
no matter how dark
I know there is
a sun with its spark

And if not today
then maybe tomorrow
I will see that spark
shining through my sorrow



  1. I loved this post. Harry and I are trying to downsize and move into retirement. I think moving away from old friends might be the hardest part.


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