For the umpteenth time, my life felt like I was wrestling a large, wet, thrashing and dangerous creature — a crocodile, as it were — that was the drama du jour. It might have been the crappy relationship with my mother, half-brother, stepmother, an editor (or three).
It might have been a fight with my sweetie, now my husband. It might have been my own insecurity or fear over my weight or my work or my income.
The more I wrestled with it, the more it thrashed, its scaly and powerful tail smacking me in the head, metaphorically speaking.
Hold it tighter! Make it submit! Then I had an epiphany, one that’s shaped my life ever since.
Drop the damn crocodile!
Just drop that slimy scaly sucker and walk the hell away.
Oooooh, that feels so much better.
It’s counter-intuitive for some of us to let something drop, to allow it to simply not matter anymore. We’re taught never to give up. To try our best. To work at things.
But, you know, sometimes that damn crocodile will kill you if you keep hanging onto it, its ferocious strength draining all of yours as you keep wrestling it.
Here are just a few of the crocodiles I’ve dropped in the past few years:
— obsessing about my income. And, funny thing, it’s rising, up 40 percent in 2011 over 2010. I expect 2012 to rise even further. Neurosis is rarely appealing to anyone, especially clients.
— whining about my weight. I need to lose 40+ pounds. I could go nuts or just try to do it in my own way. I’m working on it. It will take months. Whatever.
— worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to sell my next book. Probably will. If not, something else will come along.
— caring what my Dad thinks. Yes, I still do. But not nearly as much as I used to.
— keeping a spotless home. I used to waste a whole ton of productive work-time on house-cleaning. Now we have a maid coming twice a month, for a total cost of $110, which is less than my lowest hourly rate. I have more time to make more money.
— fretting over the normal costs of running my business, like my web designer and hiring paying assistants and lawyers and others for their help and expertise. Outsource! It’s all a tax deduction next year anyway.
— managing some of my business associates. Too difficult. Time to move on.
— trying to please my mother. Impossible. We no longer have any relationship at all. Sad to say, I have never been happier.
— keeping up friendships that actually left me feeling miserable. Just because someone was once a dear friend doesn’t mean they’re going to remain one. You change, they change and habits that might once have seemed normal can become unworkable. If you’ve tried to resolve them and it’s just not going to happen, time to drop that croc.
— getting my hip replaced. Two years of increasing pain, exhaustion, depression and frustration are gone since I had a new hip implanted in February 2012. I was terrified of the surgery and a poor result. I have my life back! I’m happy and strong once more.
What crocs are wearing you out these days?
Can you drop a few of them?