Several years ago my mom and stepdad were helping my grandmother clean out her shed. I remember being was around 14 or so years old. They pulled out several toys from my childhood and set them by the garbage to be taken out. I distinctly remember one toy in particular. It was a riding toy, mostly white, with a bear's face on the front and a blue seat that could be lifted to gain access to the space inside of it for storage.
When I saw this toy I was flooded with memories. Though I had not played with, nor had I seen it in years, I immediately gravitated towards it. I sat on it. I opened the compartment. I remembered being a child and worrying about childhood things... like the time i pooped my pants riding it.
When my mom told me to leave it alone because it was garbage I protested. I demanded that because it was mine I should get to decide what happens to it. I felt sorrow at the thought of losing this toy again. I did not want our time together to end again, but it was taken from me and thrown into the trash pile.
Nobody knew it at the time, but I cried later that day. I could not let go. I could not accept that I would never be able to put my tiny hands on that toy again. It was not a symbol of fun, but a symbol for being young.
This has been a constant in my life. I have something. It could be as simple as a toy, as complex as a relationship, or even just a feeling of that period in my life. I lose it whatever it is I no longer have it. Sometimes I don't notice at first, but often I notice immediately. As soon as I become aware of it I grieve for what is probably a longer period of time than the average person. I move on after much grieving. Then, after I mostly forget about it I am reminded again about how much fun I used to have.
This starts the grieving process over again.
Grief for me is the period of time it takes to realize that something is out of my control. As a human being I desire control. I want to feel powerful. It may only be power over my own life, but controlling your own destiny is a very desirable thing for many people. When I hold onto these things I am really just holding on to my emotions about these things or people or time periods. I want to feel the way that I felt when these thing were a part of my life.
I have often longed for things to be simple like they used to seem. There was a time that I thought my ideal life was within grasp and I barely missed it. For a long time i believed that I had missed out on the perfect life. It took my wonderful wife and children to show me that my ideal life at that time was not my ideal life forever. As I have become more Daddy and less Joel I have discovered that I am really not in control of much. Adding to that is that the more I try to control, the more stress I have and the less things go the way i want them to go.
Every time I let something hard to control go I feel a sense of relief. Every time I give up on something impossible I get closer to my true potential. Every time I remove the chains holding me back I move forward just a bit more. Letting go of the past makes room for more future.