In October, my new book, Turn The Page: A Guide to Moving On & Letting Go, will be released. Prior to the formal release, I will offer you foretastes of the book while sharing my heart so that those of you currently going through a rough patch understand that times can get better if you work at making them better. As I was writing the chapter in the book entitled Stop Watering Dead Plants, an old friend of mine came sharply into focus.
Dennis was married to Donna for 15 years, and he loved her with all his heart. One day, she abruptly announced she had not only fallen out of love with him, but there was someone with whom she was falling in love at work. She moved out.
I will save you the painful details, and for Dennis, it was extremely painful. For the longest time, he had trouble sleeping, and he no longer had a use for food. If, during the worst of Dennis’s times, there was any silver lining to this story, it was that he lost close to 50 pounds. He was forced to buy a new wardrobe. Though he still felt miserable, he slimmed down and looked good.
There was one persistent problem: the pottery.
During their relationship, Donna became absolutely fascinated with collecting some of the ugliest pieces of 1940s pottery you can imagine. Now, before I get letters from devout 1940s pottery collectors, please let me share that the word “ugly” is Dennis’s description. Yet, he figured if it made Donna happy, he would live with it.
When the relationship was first crumbling, Dennis told me he had the fantasy to take the entire collection to the top of the Empire State Building and “bombs away.” He couldn’t bring himself to do anything like that! In fact, he faithfully dusted the big ugly vases every week. He convinced himself that Donna would walk through the front door “most any time soon.” She would see that he had cherished every floral vase and candlestick holder that was collecting dust on the shelves and tables.
Months passed and then a year. She called once; she said she was “finding herself.” After 18 months, a mutual friend informed him that Donna had moved with the man to another city. She was finding herself just fine.
One crisp day in autumn, a couple of friends convinced Dennis to get out of the house and walk the fairgrounds, where an antique show was being held. “Sure, why not,” he reasoned. Donna could never pass up such shows and ,admittedly, he was unrealistically afraid he might see her there.
He didn’t see Donna, but what he did see were at least 10 vendors with ugly pottery very similar to “his” collection. In fact, many of the pieces were duplicates! He was safeguarding a collection of stuff that had been churned out from a 1940s factory.
One vendor with a double booth of 40’s pottery seemed pretty engaging.
“Is this stuff rare?” asked Dennis.
“Actually, it’s what we call collectible,” said the dealer. “People buy it, hoping it will be worth something one day.”
“What about here and now?” asked Dennis.
The vendor pointed out a large vase similar to one in Donna’s collection.
“This one has gone up at least ten bucks in the past year.”
This caused Dennis more than a few minutes of deep thought. He was holding onto a fantasy. He was safeguarding a room filled with ugly pottery representing nothing more than a broken dream and his fears of letting go.
The next week, the dealer came by the house and wrote Dennis a modest check for the entire collection. Dennis purchased a small tree that he planted in the backyard that would forever remind him to move forward and keep growing.
Starting today, you need to forget what’s gone, appreciate what remains and look forward to what’s coming next. Getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up and moving forward is a choice.
Take it from me—you won’t find the right one if you won’t let go of the wrong one. Stop watering dead plants!
Coming in October!
Steve’s new book, Turn the Page – A Guide to Moving On & Letting Go, will be released in October. As a way of saying thanks to his followers, when it is released, it will only be available at his online store: SteveGillilandStore.com. Watch for the announcement and special offer.