Letting Go in 2011

The Next Family

By: Melissa Mensavage

…3…2…1…Happy New Year!  And just like that, it’s a new year.  Brand spanking new three hundred sixty five days to do something, to change something, to live.  When asked about resolutions, I’ve always said, “eh, the usual: lose weight, get out of debt, eat healthier” –never really owning up to them.

This year, 2011, there is some conviction when I answer the question.  “Spending more quality time with Max.  Releasing unnecessary self-inflicted anxieties.  Appreciating what I have. Being grateful.”

This past holiday season I hosted a tea for close friends.  Preparing for the event brought on anxiety due to unrealistic expectations I conjured up in my head about this tea being picture-perfect.  The expectations formulated themselves into items that I would find in my dream home.  So each time when I have something at my house, these expectations usually become my own worst enemy.  By the time the day arrived, I was in such a frenzy, that it took a slight flaw in my plan to help me appreciate the success.

I live in a small, builder-grade, cookie-cutter style townhome.  There is nothing fancy or unique about my home, other than my decorating (and even then, I keep it simple).  If I recall correctly, total square footage is about eleven hundred.  I believe the kitchen and dining room have a combined total square footage of five hundred.  It can get real small real quick when there are more than a few adults in the room.

Ten adults had rsvp’d yes to the tea.  That meant I needed to borrow a table and some chairs since I only have a small, seats-four table.  I thought I’d try keeping the borrowed table and my table separate in the dining room, rather than having one big table, leaving space in between for people to easily get in and out for food, drinks, bathroom, etc.  Doing so left the chandelier hanging in the open.

I, of all the guests, found myself knocking into the chandelier the most.  With each time, I would say loudly, ‘watch your head on the chandelier!’  When I heard someone hit the chandelier, I would yell out ‘Sorry!’ and curse my home in my head for not being a tear-down-rebuild-mini-mansion decorated straight from Pottery Barn.

Each time someone did something, I was right there next to them to make sure they were enjoying themselves, liking the food, able to move around freely.  Tending to everyone all the time was exhausting.  So when the chandelier became a problem, I realized that I had to just go with it.  I had to accept the fact that I don’t live in a mini-mansion and my builder-grade cabinets and carpet were sufficient.

I had to really step outside my comfort zone that day and just be.  Be in the moment.  Be grateful for the wonderful people I am blessed to call friends.  I owed it to myself and to them as their friend, to let go of these expectations.  As soon as I did, I found that I was a nicer person.  I was able to spend some of our time together enjoying their company and not worrying about food all over the kitchen floor or if there were enough seats for everyone.

When it came time to celebrate the New Year and making resolutions, I quickly recalled the day of the tea and remembered the feelings of appreciation and acceptance.  I want to have those same feelings in all aspects of my life in 2011.  (though I still secretly want new cabinets!)

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