It doesn’t serve me anymore

When the hubbs and I decided to relocate our family from Texas to Michigan (his birth place) eleven years ago, I was on board with the move. In fact, it was my idea.  But … I did have fears. After all, this is his home. His family. His friends. His stomping grounds. Home to his golf league, ex-wife, old girlfriends you name it.  I wondered where I’d fit in.   We’d spent nearly 10 years living thousands of miles away; building our relationship, raising the boys, and pursuing our careers.  We’d done it on our own, without family interferences and without a network of built-in friends. We made our own friends and, most importantly, we turned to each other instead of to others.   Still, I worried that his loyalty – one of the traits I admire most about him – would be tested by all those other important people.  I wondered how that might change our  relationship. Selfishly, I didn’t want to share.

So after we settled in, I went out of my way to be liked.  I insisted on hosting holiday gatherings, planning reunions and such (and no one  had been actively doing  – that should have been my first clue). I outdid myself at every gathering. We hosted Christmas parties – in our home – for 60+ and I did all the cooking. And worked full time. And. And. And. Here’s the thing:   I thought I was doing this for him. And I was, to an extent.  He enjoyed himself and the opportunity to reconnect with so many. He was as helpful as could be, providing labor for every event I volunteered us for.  But I’ve come to realize something: many of those things, I did for me. Why?

I wanted to be accepted.
I wanted to make my mark.
I wanted them to love me.

Somewhere along the way, I must have learned that love and acceptance was to be earned.  That me – just showing up – wasn’t nearly enough.

I got off the carnival ride; image from

A few years ago, I grew weary of  coordinating all the events others had come to expect. It wasn’t their fault – it’s human nature.  If you readily provide a steady stream of pleasant resources, eventually others will grow to expect them.   But I grew resentful.  I no longer found joy in it.  Under the auspices of “it’s just too much,” he agreed that we should scale things back and eventually we stopped.

Having had some time between that whirlwind of activity and now … I am able to see things a bit clearer.  Epiphanies abound. Here’s what I’ve learned: sometimes we develop a habit (or take on a role) because it fills a need at that time.  Nothing says we have to keep doing it for the rest of our days.  When the habit or role no longer serves us, it’s time to let it go. In fact, it’s necessary.

 * * * *

What habits or roles have you taken on that no longer serve you?

Categories: Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “It doesn’t serve me anymore

  1. Heart-felt sharing. I wasted too many years trying to be accepted. You “bring it home” with this writing. Thanks, MJ.

    • Thank you for your kind comments and for “getting” it. This was a hard one for me to write; all the more reason to write it I think. Cheers! MJ

  2. There are two things I need to give up. Maybe some day I’ll write about it. I admire your honesty and natural wisdom.

    • I’m at a pivotal point right now … doing a lot of self-examination and shelving of old ideas. This was a challenge for me to write about … but I do see (now) where I gave up a lot of myself by my choice. And I see how it no longer serves me to do that. The family? They like me for me .. and probably would have anyways had I let them. I just couldn’t see it at that time.

      Cheers! MJ

  3. Wow! This is good. I think it’s time to quit being the protector of my son. After all…he made it through the Marine Corp. I don’t need to protect him from mean people anymore. He recognises a snarcky comment when he hears it, and even better, he knows it’s not about him, it’s about them…everytime. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. I’m guilty of over-doing things too – just because I think I need to do so for people to like me.
    Well…. I used to be that way. I think age has caused me to change that way of thinking too.

    Growing older DOES have its advantages. It does make us wiser.

    • I think so, too, Dianna. As we grow older, we can choose to carry those habits with us or let them go. I’ve let a lot go. I feel lighter somehow. Cheers!! MJ

  5. I have some similarities in my journey, too, MJ. Though we did not relocate out of state, once married, we settled on Rob’s side of town. I did my best to make sure the group – his group – got together for whatever, whenever. Like you, I did it to fit in, feel needed and be liked. Thankfully, I was liked. But, they didn’t need me – and frankly, I didn’t need them. Rob’s not social. He is fine being at home. He didn’t necessarily want to get together with his friends – I mean, he didn’t care one way or the other.

    Still, I wanted it – I wanted a sense of connection. But, it wasn’t to be. I did not have the history with his friends. Anyway, I’m losing my train of thought. Long story short – I was trying to create something that could not be created. I finally got it. I stopped trying to get the group together. I stopped planning, creating, etc. Rarely do we see Rob’s ‘old’ friends. And, it is OK. Actually, it’s liberating. I mean, I miss them, but it either works or it doesn’t – you know?

    Nope. Trying to forge a connection with the group doesn’t serve me anymore. Aaaaaaah. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lenore, for sharing your story. You experience very much mirrors mine … and I can see (now) how much of it was my choice for me .. not necessarily for them or even him. It’s interesting to see what happens when we stop, isn’t it? Cheers! MJ

  6. Good for you! That’s a tough lesson to learn and accept. I’ve spent a lot of my life doing what others wanted and not saying “no” as much as I should have. Now I try to be very conscious of what works for me.

  7. I have a habit of spreading Jam on my rolls…. oh…you meant figuratively..

    great piece by the way!

    spread the humor;

  8. Good lesson to learn!

  9. cooper

    i spent far too much energy wanting my dad to accept me for what I was…and continued to do so even after he’d been dead for 10 years. sometimes it takes a strong smack in the head to realize when it’s time to let go…

    • Well … like all of us, sometimes we just can’t see it “when we’re in it.” Now you know that it no longer serves you; doesn’t mean it’s easy to let go of, especially longing for a parent’s approval. I’m sorry that happened to you but I’m glad you’re now able to see it for what it is. All the best, MJ

  10. I have three grown children going to college, two living at home. I have had to quit the habit of doing things for them…even when they are extremely busy. It’s necessary for my happiness and for their growth.

    • Yay! Question: Was it a bigger adjustment for you …. or for them? I’m thinking maybe a little of both? Good for you!! MJ

  11. Wow! You are brave! First to take on all that work, and then to be strong enough to stop when the time was right to make that choice. I need to do more of this myself. Thank you for the example of honesty and strength.


    • Thank you, Sheila. Honestly … I don’t feel all that brave. I mostly feel .. glad .. that I can finally see it for what “it” is. And now .. do something about it. Thank you for visiting and for your comments, MJ

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