On Hanging On And Letting Go


“Life is a series of meetings and partings, that is the way of things,” said Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol. That’s true enough. But life is also a series of hanging on or letting go, and this is the time of year when many such decisions are made.

As the year’s end approaches, car dealers become eager to get rid of the 2013 models. Should you get rid of, or hold on to, your present car? Well, you know all the tricks it takes to drive your current car. You know what’s been fixed and what needs to get fixed. And you finally got everyone else to stop moving your seat. Hang on to the old and familiar or let go and trade up for the newer and more exciting problems that a new car brings? They have cars now that foresee collisions and auto-apply the brakes. Many have separate heater controls for the driver’s and passenger’s sides, ending that old argument. Many come with DVD players in the back to give children something new to fight over.

OnStar is gradually becoming more common, and I predict it will become standard on all cars eventually. Just think, in the event of theft the police can track your car and even order the system to shut off your engine. I’m sure Big Brother will never abuse that feature. Soon, OnStar will probably offer an app for your smart phone to track your car. Your teenager will never be able to sneak off with the car again. And cheating husbands will just have to take the bus. After several covert bus trips they will decide whether to hang on or let go of this other woman.

There’s also a lot of furniture sales this time of year. This produces lots of anxiety for women. Hang on to the old familiar couch and chairs or trade up for new? The old set has assigned seating for all family members. The kids have memorized all the cracks and crevices where Dad’s pocket change will land in the couch. Mom and Dad have memorized the couch pillow arrangement needed for maximum comfort.

Adults all have insomnia in bed, but we can fall asleep inside five minutes in front of a blaring TV. My theory is that laying quietly in bed invites thoughts of money to sneak into our brains. Once we begin to think about money, we’re up for the rest of the night. But sleeping in front of the TV keeps a constant drone of verbal input going into our heads and makes our minds think someone’s talking to us, keeping the money thoughts away.

This is also the time of year that kids go into the next grade at school. Once again, parents have to decide to hold onto their present children or to put them up for adoption and trade up for new children. On one hand, you already know all of the current children’s annoying behaviors and you already invested a lot in clothes and toys. On the other hand, other people’s children are usually polite and obedient in your house. So if you can trade your kids for someone else’s kids, you might have pleasant and enjoyable children around the house for two, maybe three months before they start complaining. Always the same old problems. Hold on to the old and familiar or let go and trade up.

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