Let it Go

Let it Go

As my mother says, "build a bridge and get over it."
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If there is anything that I want you to get out of reading this article, it is to let it go. Whatever "it" may be for you, forget about it. I know that it's hard, but it will be worth it, I promise.

I know that I didn't give any specific hints as to what "it" may be, but I also know that you had something in mind.

It happens to the best of us. I pride myself on not being too much of a worrier, but recently I have been worrying about anything and everything. If something is bothering me, I just cannot seem to forget about it, no matter how much I've vented or even written about it in my journal (I highly recommend journaling to anyone who is also a worrier.)

Something that my mom used to tell me whenever I was upset about stupid drama in high school was to "build a bridge and get over it." Although at the time I would roll my eyes at her like a typical teenager, I find myself thinking about that phrase often now.

This is because most of the things I (and most people) worry about are totally out of my control. We simply cannot control whether or not people like us, whether or not we will end up finding a job after college (even though I am really crossing my fingers for this one), or if we will be satisfied with our lives five years from now (yes, I do worry about this daily). And because we cannot control it, we should not even be capable of worrying about it, right? Wrong.

Because we are still capable of worrying about these irrelevant matters, we need to find some way to control our worries and not let them get the best of us. What we are worrying about probably has absolutely nothing to do with us, and is most likely not our fault.

The main thing that I enjoy doing when I find myself in a state of panic is to listen to music. Music is one of the only things in this world that can calm me down, and when I am stressed it really helps me.

I also talk to people about my problems (within reason). I find that the best person to talk to when I am worried is my mom. Even though I don't live at home anymore I find myself texting my mom many times throughout the week and she always knows what to say (God bless her). I try not to rant too much to her, or anyone else, though because I would never want to be looked at as a pessimistic person who cannot stop complaining and worrying.

And lastly, something that I have been doing lately to calm my nerves and my worries is to pray about it. Who better to talk to when you are feeling distressed than the One who has all of the answers? God has not let me (or you) down yet, so why would He start now? Praying just really helps me when I am feeling sad, lonely, or worried.

Now I know that even though I have included all of these methods to stop worrying, if you are going to worry nothing will stop you. I understand that. But I also know that everything is going to be okay and you will survive whatever it is that you are going through. You must remember that the point you are at now is preparing you for what's ahead, and it is going to be great!

So, whatever is bothering you, let it go. Everything is currently working out how it is supposed to.


Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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