The language of letting go.

Deann Zampelli, Health Coach, M.A., HWC
3 min readFeb 18, 2024


Photo by Seyedeh Hamideh Kazemi on Unsplash

As Winter gives way to Spring, I find myself pondering life’s various transitions. Never more so than this week, while in Mammoth with my teenagers for our annual pilgrimage to the snow.

For the first time, my 13-year-old daughter left on her own to meet a friend on the mountain. Happy, confident, excited to see her BFF. The truth is that she was ready long before this to make the 10-minute journey solo, but I had still been going along pretending to be needed. Leaving the building, getting on the gondola, getting her skis from the locker. Ok, so maybe it has been quite a while since she needed me, but in my head, it sounded a lot scarier.

As she left, she grabbed a piece of fruit with one hand and hugged me with the other. It was somehow symbolic. She was getting on with it. She loves me, but she’s got this. And this started me thinking.

Each time we face a threshold where we are moving from one phase of our life to another, we must either learn to let go of what we are leaving behind and accept what lays ahead or possibly face some form of maladjustment that can manifest in so many ways. Anger, resentment, frustration, depression, and feelings of betrayal are all common manifestations of ruminating over the past. We create a thought and behavior loop without even knowing it. This can be due to many different causes, but it is often because we are caught off guard. We know our kids will move out someday (at least that is the plan), but when the reality hits, the blow can be a whopper.

This can have a significant effect on one’s health. All transitions can cause us to re-examine our identity. And for many of us, as our children grow up, we are facing the dreaded and much discussed Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS). So many residents of the town we live in have high school aged children; all of us navigating the path ahead like a runway which ends in our young adults taking flight.

Letting go seems to be a big player in the successful navigation of ENS. For me, it means letting go of control, fear and anxiety. My son is about to get his driver’s license and therefore will no longer need me as a complimentary (and much more punctual, might I add) Uber driver. Soon, he will be off to college, and not only will I not have any say in what he does day to day, but I won’t have the minute-to-minute knowledge of where he is (assuming I relinquish the various tracking apps our family uses). Worry is always the undercurrent. Will they be ok? Are they safe? Who are they with? We have to hope that we laid a solid enough foundation for them to make the right choices. We hope that they will turn to us when in need. We hope they will make sound decisions. And the frightening truth is, we just don’t know.

Each transition will have its own language. Nobody can blink and suddenly be at peace with where they are. But giving yourself the grace to experience the loss of that part of your life while looking toward the future seems to be a solid place to start.

As a first step, I am not meeting my almost 14-year-old daughter on the mountain today. And I promise to only track her once on her way back. What? It’s a start.

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