“Don’t give up!” “Keep going!” “It’s all worth it!”
These are just a few of my own personal mantras. I preach these not only to myself in order to get out of bed in the morning, but also to others, when they come to me with their worries and woes, expressing how bad of a life they have. Do not give up. This will forever be my one solid grain of advice when all my other pearls of wisdom fall to the wayside. When you feel like giving up, give it one more try.
However, that’s not what today’s post is about. Today’s post is actually about exactly the opposite. Today, I plan to tell you about the one time I gave up, and why to do this day, I don’t regret that decision.
Picture this. Years of friendship. The kind of friendship people look at and say “I wish I had a friend like that”. The no boundaries kind of friend. The my house is your house and your house is my house kind of friend. Her family was my family and my family hers. Summers were always spent together. Sleepovers were plentiful, laughing until we had stitches in our sides was an almost nightly event.
And now picture this. A falling out. Not a big fight, a sudden episode, a burst of anger. No, a slow and steady drift that started before either of us even noticed the crack. Days drifted into weeks, weeks into months, until one day we looked back and hadn’t spoken in nearly a year. Life gets busy. People have their own lives. So I’d reach out. She’d reach out. We’d both send a couple messages here and there. We would hang out when we could. The drift continued.
It was only a few months ago when I thought about the big question: Should I give up? It seemed like such a huge thing, such an important friendship to just wash down the drain. But still, each ignored message, each hasty reply, each awkward forced conversation, the question popped back into my mind. Would giving up really be the worst thing?
Some days I wish we had fought. Some days I wish one of us had broken the others heart, because then at least there would be someone to blame. Here, there is just pointing fingers when we both have dirty hands.
I finally made the decision early one morning over my cup of coffee. It was an exceptionally beautiful day. The morning was crisp, the birds were chirping. I never sit on my porch early in the morning, but this particular morning, I decided to. Wrapped in a throw blanket, my hair piled high on top of my head, my limbs still waking up, it came to me at first as a whisper. The thoughts weren’t concrete yet, and so I pushed them aside. But as the sun got higher in the sky, so did the thoughts grow louder in my head until I couldn’t shut them out anymore.
And so the messages stopped. I stopped scrolling up to reread old messages. I stopped digging through my search history to find something relevant to just “bring up” to start conversation. I stopped forcing myself to make something of the past a part of my future. I gave up trying to force something to work that just didn’t seem to want to work.
Giving up is such an ugly phrase. We tend to pair it with dark thoughts, with failure and death. Maybe sometimes giving up means new beginnings. Maybe sometimes giving up doesn’t mean you failed at all, but that you succeeded. Maybe sometimes parts of your past aren’t meant to exist in this moment.
Our friendship was beautiful. We existed for one another when neither of us had someone else to turn to. But people change. Life moves forward. Life also has a tricky way of bringing things back to us that we thought we’d let go.
Giving up meant I no longer had to worry about being the one to message first. Giving up meant I could focus on relationships that were flourishing, rather than watering those that maybe needed a break. Giving up meant resting at a time when I had been doing everything but, trying to keep an old flame flickering.
I write all of this only to let you know that it is okay to give up every now and again. Not on the bigger things. Never on yourself or your dreams or your own life. Never on those things. But sometimes giving up is the only way to see the bigger picture. Sometimes giving up allows you to take a step back and evaluate the situation from the outside.
Now to wrap up my story, because I am sure some of you are wondering. Some of you are probably even shaking your head. “Such a shame,” you’re probably thinking. “Years of friendship just gone.” I don’t see it that way.
I have outstretched arms for this woman and I always will. My home with always be her home. If she fell on her butt and needed some cash to get by, my money would be her money. My ear will always be ready to listen. I still want to be a part of her daughter’s life. I still want to grow old with her. I still want her to be my maid of honor whenever I do get married. Just because she is not part of my now does not mean she can’t be a part of my future. I will always love her in a way I’m not sure I’ll ever love anyone else. Because in a way, she was my first true love. Before either of us knew what romantic love was, when we only really knew we loved our parents and siblings, we grew to rely on each other and we grew together. That’s not something I will ever forget or take for granted, nor would I ever want to. The blunt truth though is that we are on different paths now. We are living different stories and that’s a good thing.
I gave up only to allow room for growth. I gave up only to allow the universe to do her thing. Because she really does have a way of knowing what is best for you.