Career Advice Career Doctor

RESET Chapter 12 - Freedom from attachments

Over the years, Alaric had worked with lots of professionals who feared letting go of their need for control. But he had also worked with a lot of individuals who had no control whatsoever. He thought then of his estranged father, a violent alcoholic who gave in to his worst impulses after Alaric’s mother abandoned the family for a new husband, and who had lost his sons to social services after a social worker sent Alaric and his younger brother into foster care.

Alaric had long ago let go of his resentment towards his father, who now had a new life, but he was happy not to have the old man in his life any more. But in the line of work Alaric had felt himself inexplicably drawn towards, he had encountered many people whose impulses had taken over them, just like for his father. At the end of the day, Alaric mused, humans were good at sinking into their comfort zones. Whether they abandoned or obsessed over control, every human gravitates towards what feels good for them. It is only through learning your unique combination of light and shadow and how best to set appropriate boundaries that humans who were victims of their own selves could learn to operate more in flow.

Alaric thought then of his next client for the day, who also happened to be his longest term client. Tim had been raised in a wealthy household and had once been used to getting whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. For his family, financial restraint wasn’t a particularly high priority when it seemed they had more money to spend than they knew what to do with. But it all changed for Tim one summer when he was back home from university for the holidays and had decided to come out to his family by bringing his partner home, leading to unexpectedly disastrous consequences.

But today was a happy day. After almost two decades of profligacy, bank loans, and credit cards that had funded a lifestyle of retail therapy and material comforts, Tim was about to become completely debt free. He just had to make one more round of payments to all his various creditors, and had decided to mark the occasion by asking Alaric to witness him making the payments online, and then cutting up his credit cards after.

Alaric got off bus 12A on MacDonell Road, and walked up the curving driveway to Tim’s building, which Alaric had convinced him to downsize into from his more extravagant rental property on Peak Road. The guards waved Alaric up, familiar to his frequent working visits over the past five years or so. 

Tim shook Alaric’s hand excitedly as soon as he opened the door, clearly happy at finally having reached this milestone. He’d done so faster and more successfully than some of Alaric’s lower earning clients, but Alaric knew that income alone was no indication or guarantor of successfully cleaning up one’s life. His own father had been a successful banker before his family life had fallen apart.

“I’m stoked, man, you have no idea, but...I wish Paul were here too…” Tim trailed off, and Alaric put a hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

“I’m sure he’ll come around. Look how far you’ve come at getting a hold of your finances. The best of you that he fell in love with is still in you, but now you have a healthier relationship with the worst impulses that drove him away. Happiness isn’t bought with money, but it can be won through freedom from your past.”

Food for thought: Why is it healthier to let go of attachments to things, people, and habits that no longer serve you?