Editor’s Note: Hey readers, I’m not feeling well, so please enjoy a C2C classic while I get better. Thank you. (The original version of this article was first posted on the C2C in 2010.)
So Ch. 4 is going well, my novel is going smoothly. I’m happy and getting happier with it, and (as an extension of the novel) I am also content with how this blog is turning out and how people have been receiving it. I would have never imagined people from half-way around the world would be reading what I wrote and would care at all about what I had to say! Mind-blowing. But that’s the power of the internet.
But something other than my writing has been gnawing at me, and I don’t know where else to process it other than here. Although writing is going well, the rest of my life isn’t. It’s downright pathetic actually. These past two years have brought a whirlwind of unexpected challenges, each of which I am no sure I have conquered, but simply, endured. I’ve managed to get by. After every wave has hit me to the ground, I’ve managed to get back up again, only to be pushed back down again.
Certain hopes I had were dashed to pieces, and people I thought I knew and cared about, suddenly up and left–a revolving door of great expectations, that never exited the building to meet up with me. I tried to toughen it all up. Build up great walls. But that didn’t work. Then I opened myself up, wrote it all out, cried it all out. That helped. I have managed to try to find a way every time, to avoid what I think would be the worst move, which is to give up completely. I’m no fan of giving up, and I have always been one to finish what I have started. I set a goal and I meet it. But life often doesn’t go by the rules, does it? Your most detailed plans for yourself can be subverted, undermined, expunged. This week I found myself seriously considering giving up, in more than one aspect of my personal life. Trust me, I have tried. I have read every self-help book I could. I meditate. I keep a journal. I have talked to friends and family about it.
My life has become a crazy balancing act, where one challenge goes away, and as soon as it does, another comes that needs my attention. There has been no time to rest, no time to asses, no time to reboot the system. There’s the constant stress and anxiety and stress of–all right, all right–ENOUGH ALREADY! When’s the next thing? What else do I gotta deal with? What else needs my urgent attention? How much harder do I have to work? How much thinking must I do? And yet with all that, it never seems like enough.
I’ve been told that my life had been on the “fast-track” and now I’ve hit a rough patch. That part of life where no, not everything turns out the way you want it. So what do I do?
I turn to this blog, and more so to my novel. And in that novel (call me I child, I could care less anymore) I have all the control in the world. I know that in my story all the scary monsters aren’t real, and pose no real threat. I know I have control over everything that happens. I know that if I want, I can guarantee a happy ending. There I sit with the words, and I can be incredibly happy and excited to see what great adventures and characters my character will encounter next. My novel is my only sanctuary at the moment, the only thing that feels right, the only thing that is going right.
With my novel, time stops. The people around me go out of focus. For a moment, life is infinite. For a moment all the problems go away. The world is content, and I can bat away all the thoughts that say I’m not fit enough for the cover of Men’s Fitness, I’m not going to get that wedding kiss at the end of every romantic comedy, I’m no overnight success like the guest on this week’s Oprah. I can only dream about a house on a hill.
Remember: Giving Up Is A Choice
With all of this, I was about to give up. But I didn’t. Because I realized something: giving up is a choice.
Did you know that Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC and creator of its original recipe, was rejected 1,009 times before he was able to sell his original recipe to a restaurant? You know what happened after that. Do you know that Walt Disney was rejected 302 times before any bank would fund his silly idea to create an amusement park in the middle of Anaheim, California? You know what happened after that.
These are business men, but the lesson stills stands. These men chose not to give up. Anyone else would have seen all of those losses, as losses. Proof that The Giving Up had got to them. But I think both Sanders and Disney realized for themselves that The Giving Up is not something that could get to them, it was something that they would have to choose to accept, and so they simply chose not to accept it. You can can choose to see your setbacks as setbacks, or you can refuse to see them as such. That’s sounds like insanity, but I’m not sure you can call Walt Disney insane.
So has The Giving Up gotten to me? Not this time. Because I was able to understand that giving up was a choice. I hope to keep on reminding myself about this truth as I go forward, yet again.
Wish me luck.
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