Letting go is hard for anyone, with pretty much anything. Letting go of one of the only things that has been consistent in my life since Mum died, is really really hard. But necessary.
I’ve volunteered with Shout Out Leeds for three years and in doing so, I’ve met some wonderful people, had some amazing opportunities, and really grown as a person. We’ve supported each other through ups and downs and (hopefully!) made a real difference with the work we’ve been doing. I was actually with them when I got the text from Dad asking to meet up on the day he told me about Mum’s terminal diagnosis.
I started with the group as a fairly inexperienced member and learned a lot from those older than me, as time went on, I began to lead on things and eventually I took ownership of the Twitter/Facebook/Website. It’s now reached the point where I’ve gone as far as I can go with the group, and I have to move on and continue to build my life in York, rather than constantly returning to Leeds. I’m beginning to get paid for a lot of the things we would do in Shout Out for free, and as much as I’m an advocate for volunteering, I also need to afford to live. I had a good chat with the facilitator of the group, and we decided now was a good time to move on, before I began to get frustrated or stagnate.
My friends and I joke about ‘adulting’ all the time. We all seem to bounce between changing lightbulbs and colouring in, buying non-slip bath mats, and consuming frozen frubes, navigating tax and eating our tea off disney plates. We’re fumbling our way into adulthood with much hilarity and the occasional unmitgated disaster.
Part of this adulting is learning when to let go of things. Working out what to take with us, and what to leave behind. Knowing when it’s time to stop, breathe, and regroup. It’s not easy! Occasionally there will be times when it is clear that something needs to go, and sometimes it might even be a relief to cut something out of life, but more often than not, it’s really difficult. There are no right and wrong answers and no guidebook. It’s just life. It’s giving things a go, experimenting with things, taking risks and watching what happens.
I find it hard to move on because I’m leaving Mum behind. But I can’t remain in the place I left Mum forever. It’s not possible, and she wouldn’t want me to. She would be telling me to get up, get out, and live life. We’ve all got to keep on keeping on, and learn when it’s time to let things go.