I saw a picture and post about a tattoo a few months ago. Below, I’ve shared the picture. (Please note, I am not aware of the original poster, but do offer them the credit.) “I’m Fine” is a casual phrase we all use to move conversation along and often rely on those two words to reflect the attention elsewhere. A young woman, suffering from chronic depression, inked her body with these words. But there is a twist, to her it reads “I’m Fine”, to others it reads “Save me”. Think on that for a minute.
Continuing the journey of letting go reminded me of that post and tattoo I saved in my phone. It struck me simply because I believe we all suffer from a form of depression, but for some, it lingers and consumes us. When I embarked on the journey of placing worth in people, time, and self, I had no idea that I would also be addressing deep hidden truths that led me to respond with “I’m Fine” more often, than not.
You see, getting rid of all those things that distracted me pushed me to examine the intangibles in my life. I would love to report that, after ridding myself of electronics, negative media outlets, etc., I kept walking and never looked back. But that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is that it continues to be a struggle even today. To clear up any misconception, I am not advising you enter your home and junk everything, that is what I needed to do to start appreciating life and opportunity.
After that initial unloading in my mid-twenties, I struggled with consumption and distraction well into my thirties. For a time, I would gain and accumulate, only to lose it due to stupidity, ignorance, life choices, or a mixture of all three plus seven more reasons. The idea of what my priorities were became a wavering mindset and often fell to the waste side when tempted by new technology and expensive toys that I had to have.
I taught my kids to use their money on experience, not things that don’t last. Or purchase something that will be with you for years and will serve a valuable purpose other than a distraction from living. If I only I led by example. Around the age of 35 I experienced a year of profound loss and destruction. While the details are private, what I will say is the life I knew changed in an instant. Twelve months of death, sadness, financial loss, family struggle, and court battles led to a period that will mark the beginning of living this life.
I lost everything. Everything that meant something and everything that simply just took up space. In the end, everything was just another word. Pictures, items that belonged to my late mother, electronics, files, records, furniture, collectibles, if you look around and see something, chances are it can be counted in my “everything”. Devastation really doesn’t begin to explain the emotions that processed through my heart and mind.
As I sat wondering what I would do, I was reminded of the struggle I began a decade earlier to put worth in people and time. So, I began to separate myself from the things I had no chance of recouping. Instead, I focused on the people in my life. Those that were around me, those that were far away, and those that I hadn’t even encountered yet. For me, letting go translated into gaining everything.
Sitting here in my kitchen I look around and see stuff. Most that know me are fully aware that I love Amazon and should probably be a key spokesperson for them. But things have a different place in my life now. People come first. Experience comes first. LIFE comes first. Letting go carries so much more than walking to the trash with things I haven’t touched in years. Letting go became a point in time. Things stopped replacing my feelings and words began to reflect my true self at any given moment.
This journey hasn’t been easy and along the way I’ve learned valuable truths about myself, my past, and how I can live a transparent life. What are my distractions? Am I giving the people in my life the time they deserve? Am I creating tasks to avoid a situation? Am I “fine”?
What is your distraction? Are you really “fine” or do you need some saving too?