Peace is in the Letting Go

For the past two weeks, I’ve not written a word.  Okay, I’ve emailed a bunch and Facebooked many a snarky comeback, but I’ve not blogged or written outside of my blogs.  In general, I’ve been grumpy, weepy, pensive, and just off.  With a bit of thought, plenty of conversation with friends, followed by even more thought, I’ve decided there’s too much on my plate as of late, so I’m scraping some of it off.  I’m letting things go.

    • Cats.  We’ve fostered cats from the Michigan Humane Society for the past three years.  As a good friend said, it’s like owning a cat without owning a cat.  Specifically, it’s like borrowing (serially, although sometimes in gangs of six tiny beasts) cats.  After half a summer without feline companions (travel doesn’t mix with foster care), I was practically running to MHS for a kitty or two.  Shockingly, the last thing we needed when starting our homeschooling year was a mother kitten with the runs and four active kittens.  Hmm.  Two weeks in, the adorable ones and their stinky mom were ready to return, and I declared retirement, at least for the near future.  We adopted two gerbils, Brian and Bill, who never climb the curtains, poop in helmets, or chase yarn.  Good trade.
      • Blogs.  In May, I started Asperger’s at Home, my third blog.  With a personal goal to write four times a week on each of my three blogs and write for other venues, this increased my self-imposed work load dramatically.  I wanted a forum for my posts about Asperger’s, with which my younger son was diagnosed last November.  It’s an issue that shapes us all around here, and it seemed to need its own forum.  Plus, as I started writing for The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, I thought a blog focused solely there would be appropriate.  For the summer, I enjoyed the new forum and subject matter.  Come the school year, it’s just too much to manage and keep up with my other writing goals.  All future posts about autism will find their way either here or on Quarks and Quirks, my homeschooling blog.  In retrospect, this wasn’t a hard decision to make, but it did take time to feel comfortable with letting go of that venture.
      • Martial Arts.  I’ve practice Tang Soo Do for over four years, accompanied by my sons.  If we stay the course, we (or two-thirds of “we”) should be eligible for black belt testing in March.  My older son plans to continue karate after his Black Belt.  Our dojo supports a vibrant and ever-growing body of learners working for higher degree black belts, and I admire his dedication to the sport.   My younger son remains uncertain about his future with the sport but hints at wanting to try something different.  And me?  I’m just tired of being in pain.  For the most part, it’s the sparring that gets me.  On many levels, I object to sparring.  Sure, some of my objection is to being punched and kicked.  Some is the risk of hurting others accidentally.  I’ve accumulated a fair number of bruises and strains over the years from karate class, almost all due to sparring and other self-defense practices.  Thanks to an injury sustained outside of the dojo some three years ago, my back takes all sudden movement and jostling quite personally.  Simply put, since then, it takes little jarring to produce long-term pain.  I’m forty-two. I’m tired of hurting myself and others.  I adore the other aspects of the sport — mental discipline, strength, balance, focus, control — but carrying on the rest of my life in more comfort (and with less costly visits to my chiropractor) needs to be a priority.  I’ve not found a final solution.  Since leaving the sparring behind undoubtedly means never reaching black belt, I’m in a bit of limbo.
      So am I suddenly sweet, smiling, carefree, and on all the time?  Not quite.  I am sleeping better and writing again.  Mentally, I’m gentler with myself and more focused on the (long) list of what remains:  homeschooling my boys, taking care of the yard and house, writing (remaining blogs and beyond), reading, knitting, working, and generally maintaining a pretty full plate.  The mental energy expended on doing what I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do took a toll.  And I’ve some sorrow about each of those changes, although relief lessens the sorrow.  All have been labors of love, delights more than not.  All had (and may have again) a place in shaping me and my children.  So I remind myself that sometimes, peace is in the letting go.
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