I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week. She was a champion for women’s rights. Two days after her death, I learned she could have retired during the Obama administration to guarantee her supreme court seat would be given to a democratic appointee. I have to admit, it tarnished her legacy for me. So much is riding on each of only nine supreme court seats, and everyone knows it. Talk of repealing Roe v. Wade has been going on for decades. Implementing a public health care system is a Herculean effort begun by the Clintons in the ‘90s and still not achieved. With so much at stake for the country, why not retire at eighty and take the final years of life to consult, pen your memoir, cruise the globe or try holistic health care? Why would a woman as intelligent, powerful and respected as Ginsburg choose to throw the future of our nation to chance? Did she believe in her own immortality? Was she addicted to power? Was she simply selfish?
I’ve never experienced the upper echelons of society where supreme court justices reside. I’ve never been around that kind of power. I can only imagine it must be intoxicating. People defer to you, laugh at your jokes, and ask for your opinion. Famous reporters hang on to your every word. You have the ear of the president and a passport that is fully stamped. You dine at all the finest restaurants and stay in all the best hotels. When you sleep, you hear the words “Your Honor” as your lullaby. Maybe being an ex-justice wouldn’t be as exciting. Or maybe, like many people, she wasn’t ready to “retire.” Maybe she feared it meant she was old and washed up. Maybe after over twenty years in the position, she didn’t know who she was if she wasn’t a supreme court justice.
If you know me at all you know I love horror movies, especially psychological thrillers. I watched You Should Have Left today starring Kevin Bacon. It could have been about Justice Ginsburg or any of us who stay in situations longer than we should. Sometimes staying does more damage than leaving, whether it’s a marriage, a job, a relationship or a neighborhood. Why do we stay? I think it’s because we’re scared to leave. Scared of the unknown. Scared of not fulfilling an obligation we created in our minds. Scared of being judged. Scared of being alone.
There are a lot of quotes that wrestle with the reality of fear. Perhaps you’ve heard, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Or seen, “F.E.A.R. is false evidence appearing real.” Maybe someone’s told you, “There are only two emotions, love and fear.” In my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, I reference my favorite lyric from an old Dramatics song, “The strong give up and move on while the weak give up and stay.” Sometimes we forget, leaving may take more courage than staying the course.
Even my beloved father had to make the decision to let go of this life and move on to the next. At some point we all leave the familiar behind us, whether it’s moving off to college, getting married, taking an out-of-state job or moving overseas. Even if we do our best to change nothing, to hide, be quiet and remain completely still, change will come for us whether we’re ready or not.
I wish Justice Ginsburg had made a decision to retire instead of holding on and having circumstances make the decision for her. I hope we can all learn a lesson from her and release things in our lives when it’s time to let them go.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is from my visit to Brooklyn this past weekend for my dad’s funeral services. It had been a while since I’d been downtown Brooklyn, and I was surprised to see how much my NYC borough now looks like Manhattan. It made me think about how Manhattan must have looked a hundred years ago. Change happens whether you want it to or not. If you’re looking for ways to manage the change in your life to achieve your goals, contact me for a free coaching consultation at calendly.com/trishahjelroberts