I went under an internet rabbit hole the other day the was so deep I eventually wondered if somebody much wiser should develop a search-and-rescue app for the digitally lost, those of us with a perpetual curiosity and propensity because that being led turn off course by Google.

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I can’t also remember how it began or what precisely I was looking for. All I understand is that at some point I to be staring in ~ those cheesy Pinterest-worthy inspirational quote images that just speak to your soul as soon as you’re no hope for some wisdom your mind just can not provide. I guess that’s whereby I was—in my life room asking the World wide Web to command me somewhere an ext enlightened. What can possibly go wrong?

I arrived on this photo with a sage background and also black block letters: “You only lose what friend cling to.” It was attributed come Buddha, in a red blocky font.

I was cynical of that attribution (try together I might, i can’t rotate my journalist switch turn off in my complimentary time). And I had already burrowed so much down into the digital void, i bravely forged onward to discover it’s a “fake Buddha quote,” though it does carry a certain Buddhist tone. I assume that means somebody else said or created it, yet I don’t recognize who the is—and the was past my bedtime, mine phone battery was dying and I was as well lazy come plug the in, so the secret continues.

Regardless that the origins, in the light of day the following morning, i was still thinking about its meaning. As we get in the fourth month the 2018, no a day has gone by that ns haven’t grappled with a decision about whether to save something or let it go, it is in it clothing, furniture, old books, my childhood home…or less tangible things choose relationships, ideas, contracts, time, emotions, and responsibilities.

What was moving me to hang on come some facets of my life and simply relax others? and have i been doing it right? The quote was pushing me come evaluate.

I kicked this year turn off by going back to the residence my parents built when i was three. Nothing forces you come prioritize wants and also needs quicker than the job of cleaning the end a 5,000-square-foot residence that has been lived in by the same family for 40 years.

I watched mine older brothers meticulously ponder every belonging—his, ours, mine mother’s, mine father’s—and decide that practically everything he found was worth keeping. Meanwhile, ns threw stuff on the donation, junk, and also consignment piles through abandon. My arsenal of items to ship to Arizona was modest and also meaningful. My initial copy the Charlotte’s Web, a couple of rugs, a animal leather chair, photo albums, and my an initial writing desk, a seventh birthday gift from my parental that listed a space to uncover what I want to be once I prospered up.


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Giving up the grander things, like the house itself, come easily. And also I’ve due to the fact that discovered the a lot of civilization think that’s weird, giving well-meaning condolences as soon as it come up in casual conversations.

“Oh, that’s so hard. Ns sorry,” castle say v empathy and kindness.

I found nothing emotionally challenging about offering that house. When we drive away for the final time, all ns felt to be relief. It was more complicated for mine brother and mom. Your attachment to the brick and also mortar was deeper, an ext sentimental, and perhaps in part respects, much more “normal” than mine.

I didn’t melted a tear, though, regardless of the truth that 541 Hilltop road was constantly a home. The red door was constantly open, my Laura Ashley-themed time capsule of a bedroom prepared for mine occupation at any time I essential it, my whole life, no inquiries asked. I can hear the giggles the slumber parties, the belly laughs that swim and also cross-country team pasta dinners, the Eagles and John Denver melody serving as the soundtracks to family members gatherings and grandparent visits, the clink of Manhattan glasses top top a Friday night together the grownups relished happy hour, the odor of a summer dinner grilling on the deck after ~ a lengthy day in ~ the pool.

But I also remember peering through the large bay family members room window on a chilly December night in 1987, seeing close family friends bearing Kleenex in their hands, top bowed, embracing each other as ns walked with that red prior door through my swim bag over my shoulder and an widening mix that anxiety and also emptiness growing in mine stomach.“Your dad. The didn’t do it,” my mom said, was standing in former of the kitchen table.

While i was in ~ swim practice, he had actually a major cardiac event while working out ~ above a NordicTrack in the basement. He passed away at period 40.

And maybe it to be then that i realized the a home in and also of chin couldn’t be a safe haven—it’s simply a thing, prefer all the remainder of the things, and also its feeling of comfort and also safety is other you fill up and also take v you, along with the family members silver and also your copy that Charlotte’s Web.

Cliché as it is, the awakening so much this year is the geography and belongings and also people can’t provide peace or an individual happiness—you have to come with those currently ingrained and then choose the peripherals the enhance, perpetuate, and also complement them, when letting walk of those that don’t. It’s easy to get rid of what (or whom) friend don’t require if you’re an excellent with yourself.

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Perhaps that was the purpose of my an excellent interwebs adventure the other night—a roundabout exploration that somebody when said, “you only shed what you cling to.” and she was absolutely right.