They say it is an art. I suppose that's why only a few are gifted with mastery and the rest of us feign recreation. I wish I let things roll off my back. I wish I brushed my shoulders off. I wish I could live and let live. But in fact, for a prodigious over-thinker-feeler, things (all natures of things) bed themselves down in my heart and head and I sit with them until practically the end of time if I'm not conscious about it.
I think it's a natural thing to advance in years, and hopefully maturity, and to continue to realize with more and more clarity that life can be unjust, people can be unfair, and that things can be hurtful. These are hard and painful truths, ones we don't like to put into the light simply because it's the opposite of letting go, giving them a face or place in our lives. If we don't speak about it, it's less weighty, is perhaps the inclination. But I think first we must acknowledge that those things are there. Life is not roses (but this post is chock-full of cliches, don't you worry).
This one is a lesson I share knowing I do not really put it into practice. Not only does it not come naturally to me, I sort of like the vindication I feel in holding on to something. If I didn't see justice yet, well, maybe I will. And so the hurt or frustration must remain fresh. More often than not, this leaves me in the dust, the world moved on--especially the offender; and I'm aging with cynicism and bitterness over something no one else remembers or cares happened. I could give instances where I did feel vengeance was mine, but the fact I could list them off to you proves I've not let those things go either. So the human version of justice isn't even really a fix anyway.
Sometimes it's not a hurt we can't let go of, but a happiness. As we get older, there's a finer and increasingly dangerous line between "memories of good times" and an unhealthy desire to go back to a moment in time. A rich life is built upon the blocks of experiences and special memories. We must hold them close to our hearts in a way that propels us into the happinesses ahead. If we consider the happinesses already had our peak, what joyous events will we miss now and later?
I like to think of it as a certain lightness in life. We are not unattached. We are not free from pain. We are not flaky or unsentimental. But as we let things go, to open our hearts to where we are in our present moments. We allow the things that have happened, the hopes we have for the future to effect who we are and who we want to be; but we do not allow them to define us. No one else can define us for us if we let things go.