What a month. Really. What a month. Someday when I am old and toothless, I would think of my career and this month would probably be one that flashes (after I try to recall my own name). Like I’ve said before, it’s funny how you think a job is just a job, until you find out it isn’t. Earlier in April saw a huge shift in the company I’m working in, with a large slash of employees due to the current state of oil economics. The dreaded letters came in from HR and the effects were almost instant – some people cried, some people were speechless, some people packed immediately and left, some people were silently relieved, and some even accepted their fate with a lot less poise.
It was also a humbling experience watching people walk away from their jobs. Some took it worse than others, and I was in a strange position of feeling grateful I could stay, but feeling sorry to those who did not get to. It was a slap to the face to realize that a job is just like a lot of everything else in this life – completely and utterly fluid.
A job, just like a lot of everything else in this life, is in fact fluid and could change in an instant. One day you’re sitting comfortably at your work desk, and the next day you’re no longer required to punch the card. One day you’re on top of a hill and everything in life is going great, and the next day you’re in the ditches, wondering how everything went south so fast. One day you have parents, and the next day you don’t anymore. One day you’re inspired, and the next day it feels bleak and demotivating. One day a man is a prominent character to you, and the next day he becomes a stranger. The list is endless.
The larger parts of causes for despair often root from failure to accept this very nature of the things we experience in life. A good friend of mine lost her father by surprise, much too soon than anybody would’ve expected. They had a close bond, and I braced myself to witness the after-effects it would have on her after he passed. At around the same time she was also studying for exams, and was broken up with a boy. In my head I could clearly imagine my own self handling this situation, which would probably heavily involve a long period of cat-murdering, pot-smoking, life-resenting depression. Okay I hope I wouldn’t do that, but you get the picture. But of course she didn’t do these things. She was sad for a considerable amount of time, but never taking it too far. I suppose my point here is that we all experience the same emotions – sad, happy, elated, in love, disappointment, loss. But often what makes a huge difference on the impact it has on our lives is how much we’ve accepted the fact everything goes away eventually. It is never about clutching onto them eternally for dear life. It is always about enjoying them while they last.
This is a popular concept, well-understood and agreed by the most of us, but so darn hard to actually apply in real life. A part of your brain knows this is true, but the other part of it just couldn’t help being drawn and sucked into this swirling mix of over-attachments and leeching onto things that are just as flawed as we are ourselves. As a person who relies on work as one of the very few aspects of my life that are actually stable, this whole episode reminded me how nothing in life stays as deep black holes nor rainbows forever. And expecting them to remain that way means you have missed the entire point.
It has been wired into us that we should never ever give up. Ever. We should never give up until the end (I’m sure this comes from a song lyric somewhere). Whatever it is that we are striving for, giving up is for losers. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Resilience will prevail.
These generic advice are poison. For the most part of our lives, these motivations are true and have been proven by so many success stories of people who went through hell and back to achieve something and never gave up. It stops people committing suicide, it cheers people on to make it in life, it helps implant positivity in people with illnesses to heal themselves, and it pushes forward broken hearts to get out there again.
But at the same time, this idea can be easily manipulated into the specifics in life that it becomes almost dangerous.
To simplify, sometimes we really should give up.
I know a couple who has been trying to have kids naturally for years and years now, and although doctors have advised that it was near impossible for them to conceive naturally they have not given up on that idea yet. Which is great, except they are also miserable and desperately wanted children. Not giving up on this hinders them from considering other options to have children that could be just as wonderful but not necessarily their initial picture of what it would be like. There is a guy I know who refused to look at other options to make a means of himself other than dreams of becoming an artist and as a result, his wife and kids suffer. And I could easily point out a girl who is in a dead-end relationship with a man, unhappy but adamant to not give up in this emotional investment.
I too am as guilty as charged in this subject matter. The go-getter attitude has been instilled in me by my environment from an early age, and as a result I become almost obsessed with the idea that every single little thing I want in life should be fought tooth and nail for until it is mine. I just couldn’t quit. Which sounds amazing in theory. But what it does in my real life is that in many ways, it stops me from moving forward and it hinders my vision outside of what I think I want. I stressed myself into thinking that my current job is the only job I would be best at, and as a result I could not bring myself to explore other things out there that might be just as interesting. I resiliently loved people who did not love me back, and as a result, I did not move on. I hold on to expired dreams because I could not bring myself to admit that not all dreams are actually applicable in reality.
Giving up is a delicate subject. It should be under no circumstance applied in some policies in your life, as it is scientifically and spiritually proven that resilience is effective, causes positive changes and defeats impossibilities. That being said, sometimes giving up is a possible option that can create miracles too. Giving up on the idea of ever looking like a Victoria’s Secret model (there are no Korean surgeries that can substantially add body height) made me much happier in my own skin. Giving up an initial plan of living a certain lifestyle can open up doors to many other wonderful options we never knew existed. Giving up on a pointless relationship will allow others to give you what you actually deserve.
The trick, I suppose, is to know the fine line between when to soldier on and when to respectfully abort the mission. It is a large part of making the right/wrong moves in life, therefore always remaining a subject of eternal perplexity for all of us, wherever we’re from and however different our lives are from each other. Good luck in giving up!