HomedyslexiaSometimes Giving Up is the Best Way to Keep Going

Much as I enjoy NaBloPoMo, I think I’ll be taking a break from it for a while. Posting every day was getting much too stressful, which has been triggering the more problematic side of my dyslexic brain. So, I’ll be returning to posting three to four times a week instead.

A carreer in massage may not have been for me, but
I’m glad I tried it.
Lubyanka [CC-BY-SA-3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons

Making this decision reminded me of a post I saw somewhere on the internet not long ago. In it, the person talked about how our culture is always telling us to keep working at goals, which implies giving up is the worst thing you can do.

In many ways, they have a point. When we see someone succeed at something, we only tend to pay attention to their pursuit of that single goal. When we encourage our kids to choose a major for college, there’s the very strong implication that they must commit to that subject and only that subject.

I’ve worked in various industries, and noticed the same trend there, too. Workers are encouraged to concentrate on only a very narrow set of skills, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. It reminds me of the Ford-style assembly line. While it’s a good model for factories, it’s horrible for human development.

What gets missed is the various pursuits these ‘successful’ people may have pursued before, or are currently working on as well. Exploration is just as important as narrow focus, especially when it comes to living a well rounded life. More often than not, we’ll try something, eyes full of starsf, only to discover it’s actually a pretty horrible fit once that initial light fades. Maybe it actually has extremely negative effects on us. In that case, there’s no harm in giving up on it in the interests of finding something else you can do well.

Of course, I’m not saying to give up on your main/only income without a backup plan of some sort, or to just drop basic skills needed for a diploma. Those things are necessary for a comfortable life, though they’re often temporary means to ends.

My point is, giving up isn’t always a bad thing. In my life, massage therapy training is a good example. I have formal training to become a massage therapist, both in several forms of western massage and Shiatsu. Eventually, I decided that job wasn’t for me. So, I let it go and moved on.

I don’t view that time in school spent as a waste, though. I learned a lot about anatomy, the way the body works and myself along the way. I occasionally use the skills learned there to help my husband out with the sore muscles his job comes with and the stretches to help my own physical complaints.

I may have given up on massage as a career, but opened up a new path for myself by doing so.

I think part of why we tend to view giving up on something as a negative thing is an odd sort of short sightedness. It seems as if when someone gives up on something, we see it as giving up on everything. That’s a rather simplistic way of looking at the world.

Some people are happy to focus on one thing for the majority of their lives, and that’s ok! In fact, that’s pretty great, because those people can accomplish great things.

Not everyone’s like that, though. Others may need to explore many avenues of potential before finding their one great passion. Yet other people have many interests, and have a hard time distilling them down to only one or two things to focus on. These types of people are awesome, too.

I see no reason why multiple interests can’t be pursued. In fact, I think it’s healthy to learn about a broad variety of topics. It’s even better if you can turn a couple of them into incomes, though that’s not at all necessary.

Something that I’ve learned from having the wiring I do, along with asthma and being married for eleven years, is to choose my battles. Winning every single conflict that comes along isn’t possible, but the really important things are worth the struggle.


Sometimes Giving Up is the Best Way to Keep Going — 2 Comments

  1. You make some great points. I had to give up college (entirely) because I had to work on my mental health. I waited until it was an absolute necessity or I'd probably not be alive today. Had I chosen to let go of the goal of a college degree and independent living at het same time earlier, I might've reached a higher level of social success (but then again,w ho determines success?) than I have now.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! I think you're probably in good company in the decision of leaving college in the interest of mental health. I'm very happy you're still around.

    You also bring up a point I had meant to put somewhere in the entry, but couldn't figure out where – the determination of success, social and otherwise. We all know what society tells us – successful marriage, 2.5 kids, a nice house, a stable job and a healthy social life, but I know that's not the case for everyone. There's a topic I may write more about later.

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