Didn’t you get a wee bit worn out by the pronouncement, “Been there, done that!” Honestly, it was like an epidemic—people looking for the opportunity to pounce on a suggestion, story, or advice with this hale and hearty proclamation. In all fairness, it was also sometimes used to sympathize as well, acknowledging, “Hey, I know what you’re dealing with—I’ve been there (and done that). It was punchy, I have to admit, but it never caught on with my idiomatic-rejecting brain. (After all, “idiomatic” is close to another word which describes how such phrases can sound on the tenth trot out of the mouth.) Evidently one day I got so bored with this catch phrase that my mind, in desperation, turned the whole thing around.

“Been That, Done There”
Oh, now that’s a different story.

I shared this with my friend, Sherrie, who quickly Googled it. Then I re-Googled. No doubt other people who needed a break from the BTDT syndrome had thought of this in the middle of the night and smiled in the dark. But no one had left it out to dry on the search engine line, so I claimed it. “Been That, Done There” is a different kind of proclamation. The original is about somewhere I went, something I did, something I experienced—good, bad or super funky--to the point of weariness. But in the revised version, it’s about something I’ve been…and have made an unmitigated decision to let go of.

Of course there are some things that we’ll always be, even if we’re not “doing” it any longer. For example, “once a mother”…well, I don’t even have to finish the sentence. We could extend it most family relationships, but also to nationalities and even citizenships (unless you get escorted past the border in an uncharitable fashion). And how about artists, swimmers, trumpet-players, poets, boxers, psychics, chefs, et al. Aren’t these all things we carry inside and know ourselves to be even if we no longer have the muscles, the guts or the lips to keep at it?  .

But then there’s that other group of collectables…wily whiners, the chronically martyred, cranky complainers, perennial worriers, insecure dream-busters, devoted self-diminishers, negativity-lovers, the perpetually perky, the drama royalty, the frightfully fearful, and the subtle (or not-so) controllers. See anything there you’ve been, and decided to let go of? Spot anything you might possibly still be holding on to…and are willing to fervently wave goodbye?

“Been That, Done There” is an ever-present evolutionary option. To see something we have become by osmosis or conscious choice, by habit or by co-habitation, and fully realize: “OH MY GOODNESS, that’s not who I really am! That’s now how I’m meant to be! I’ve been that, but you know, I think I may be done there!” Can you hear your angels breaking out the champagne? Can you hear the clinking and see the winking? They just knew you’d figure out that you’re more than that! This moment of dawning awareness is the essential one, usually followed by a process of letting go—but once you’ve fully seen it, you can’t easily retract. Once you realize that you’ve BEEN THAT and that it no longer serves you, you’re ready to get on with the mission of being DONE THERE. And then, what-oh-what are you ready to BE?

What “Been That, Done There” are you on the edge of? Or just emerging from? And who can you imagine yourself BEING without it?