Ripples #1202: Shedding to Become


Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become. -Hal Elrod, shared by Nick in Greenwood, IN


Rom wiggled his fingers and produced a tiny crab. He held it up. “Did you know a crab will escape its shell thirty times before it dies?” He looked out to the sea. “This world can be a trying place, Inspector. Sometimes you have to shed who you were to live who you are.”
-Mitch Albom, shared by Tracy in Wautoma, WI (who enjoyed this passage from The Stranger in the Lifeboat)


I recently read an article that has me thinking I’ve been in a gradual shift from painting my life to sculpting it. In The Two Choices That Keep a Midlife Crisis at Bay, Arthur Brooks conceptualizes life as an ongoing creation of art. He suggests that in the first part of life we’re more like painters, adding paint to a canvas. He views the second half of life as more subtractive, like a sculptor who is chipping away stone to reveal the art hidden the remaining block.

I’ve been lately daydreaming with a dear friend about how we’d like to consciously design the next few years of our lives as we approach our 60s (sidenote: we’ve been theater nerds since our high school days, so of course we randomly belt out Hairspray’s Welcome to the 60s). It struck me that my initial planning for the future is quite focused on what I’m hoping to eliminate or reduce in my life.

It’s not that I’ve decided to stop trying new things or pursuing new adventures…I’m determined to be doing plenty of both right up until it is time for me to head to the great Whatever’s Next. It just goes back to the three questions I find particularly helpful in periods of challenge and change (follow the links to review past Ripples where we’ve explored these in depth):

What is it time to let go of?
What will be important to hold on to?
What might be useful to look forward to?

I find these questions are most powerful when they are explored in order: first letting go of some things so that we can then better assess what we intend to hold on to. This increases the likelihood we will have more space in our bandwidth and in our schedule for whatever we’d like to create next.

And so, my friend, I’ll ask you: what part of your current life is it time for you to shed so that can have more room to grow?


Recent Ripples