Letting Go Of What Doesn’t Work

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I made the decision to not plant a garden this year. We’ve done so two years in a row, and both years it was more or less a total flop. (Incidentally my husband had success in his former home growing tomatoes and jalapenos. Go figure.)


There were a few reasons for this decision. First, my husband has been experiencing some of the worst allergy symptoms he’s had in years. The poor man was miserable for weeks until the weather turned cool recently, smack dab in the middle of the time we should have been turning soil and planting. I couldn’t ask  him to help me with yard work when simply walking to his car brought on a sneezing fit and itchy, watery eyes that swell and look (and feel) painfully raw. He gets rashes and fevers and blocked up ears. I didn’t want to take it all on myself either.

Secondly, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Laura Vanderkam (author of All The Money in the World) writes in her book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (review forthcoming!). She introduced to me the concept of Core Competencies. A core competency is basically something that you do better than anyone else (or can’t outsource, like exercise or nurturing your marriage).

Turns out, gardening is not one of my core competencies.

And, I am perfectly happy to write a check every week to the lovely man who supports a family pursuing HIS core competency of gardening and farming: the farmer who provides us with raw milk, free range eggs and grass fed meat. I can do the same with the fine folks at the farmer’s market.

At our couples meeting I told hubby that I felt we should skip planting a garden this year. It could possibly be an investment in time, money and energy that provided no benefit. I had been stressing about it for weeks and at this particular time in our lives, it wasn’t a good idea. When I decided to let it go I felt a psychic burden lift off of my shoulders.

He appeared visibly relieved and immediately agreed with me.

Interestingly my oldest son planted a few flowers and tomatoes and they’re coming up!  A week ago when we went to Starbucks he requested a bag of grounds, took them home and spread them on the garden. He waters it every few days. Maybe HE will be the one with the green thumb. That would be lovely.

I’ve also let go of a few things in our homeschool. (And not just things like shoulds and expectations.)

At the beginning of the year the then 10 and 8 year old were doing Beyond Five in a Row. I think it’s a wonderful program, but the kids weren’t really enjoying the unit study approach. What they (and I) did love? Simply reading the books aloud together. So we let go of BFIAR and just used the book list as a recommendation for daily read alouds. And we’re happier as a result.

Have you let go of something recently that isn’t working? Did it free up energy, money and time to pursue what you really wanted?

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2 Responses to Letting Go Of What Doesn’t Work

  1. Anne says:

    I’ve been reflecting on my own priorities and activities with my own core competencies in mind, and concrete examples like these of how other women are implementing changes in their own lives are extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    And I must say I am with you 100% on the gardening thing. My thumb is brownish, but a few years ago a booming farmers’ market opened just blocks from our house. Now we enjoy a Saturday morning walk, visits with our neighbors, and paying someone else to grow beautiful produce!

  2. Chloe says:

    It really feels so great when we can get rid of things that stress us, or just flat out don’t work in our lives. We just sold our large SUV in the hopes of pairing down a bit, saving some money, and paying off debt. I am home most days and don’t really need a car. Plus, Victor doesn’t need to drive a huge land boat to his job which is 10 minutes away. The nicest part of this story is that we ended up selling our SUV to a couple who are spiritual brothers! Only when we got to the bank to sell the SUV did we find out! A win/win situation :)

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