Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When to KNOW it's Okay to Give Up

I have given up before.  I gave up on motorcycles.  Don't get me wrong - I love motorcycles - the speed, the sound, the chrome, the leather - yay!  I especially like riding on the back of a motorcycle.  But alas, without a man with a motorcycle, I wasn't riding.  So many years ago, I bought myself a motorcycle.  I found that without someone to ride with, I didn't like riding.  I had too many other things to do than sit on my butt and cruise around town solo.  Plus the bike scared me - I wasn't 100 percent comfortable in traffic.  Everyday I didn't ride, I felt guilty - why did I buy that bike if I was just going to let it sit there and rust?  I'd take it out on a sunny day and it would later start to rain - ouch! (Raindrops hurt at speed.)  Wet roads were even more scary.  When I saw the results of a horrible motorcycle accident (the biker died at the scene), that was it for me - I sold the bike.

Here's the PEZ bike that was at Candy Expo:

Notice the gas tank - a PEZ dispenser!

I am totally okay about not having a motorcycle.  I am no longer insuring something I'm not using, and I'm not feeling guilty about not using something that cost so much money.  I even got a pretty good chunk of my money back when I sold it.  Sometimes giving up (or letting go or changing your mind) is perfectly okay.

Is there something in your life it might be time to give up on?  (a relationship, a job, weight loss, staying forever young, etc.?) Here are some questions to help you decide:

1.) Does your long term input (money, time, emotion, etc.) greatly outweigh the return?  What's your real ROI?  Is there even one?

2.) Are you following your bliss?  Bet you were in the beginning!  Man, I sure thought I was when I passed the motorcycle safety class!  I felt pretty blissful strolling through the dealership seeing all that shiny chrome!  Not so much months later when I kept paying the bills for a bike I wasn't riding.  Joy is the best guide you will ever have.  If it brings you joy, it's good.  If it brings you pain, it's bad.

3.) Is it dread yet?  If you've crossed over into dread, it's time to give up.  I got to where I dreaded even seeing my motorcycle I felt so guilty.  I'd gotten to the point with the online dating that I was actually dreading some of the dates I had agreed to go on!  If it's not fun anymore, why are you doing it?  Dread going into work?  Dread coming home?  You're supposed to be following your bliss, not your dread!  Why in the world would we ever do anything that we dread?

4.) Are you lying to yourself?  I kept thinking I was going to ride that bike someday.  I kept thinking Mr. Right was just one click away on  At some point, you need to face up to the truth.  Think your job is going to suddenly get more fulfilling?  Think that sense of mistrust in the man you've been seeing is going to go away?  Think you're going to starting lifting those weights you bought back in the 80's?  Stop lying and give up.  Sell it on Ebay.

5.) Does it bring out the best in you?  Boy, I was having a blast at Candy Expo - talking with everyone, just having fun.  THAT'S when I'm at my best - when people comment on how great I am to be around because I'm so filled with fun and joy - that's who I truly am.  I am not at my best on a date with no connection.  I am not at my best fighting off unwanted advances at a singles event.  I don't like who that makes me.  And I was not at my best scared to death on my motorcycle.  When you are on the right path, you will know it.

6.) Are you growing or learning?  Maybe you don't like something, but it's helping you grow.  I wasn't crazy about every class I ever took, but it sure was worth it all down the road.  Maybe you don't like your current job, but you are really learning a lot.  There is value in something that helps you grow, so this may indicate you need to hang in there a little longer.  However, I've read every book on dating there is, I've been on literally hundreds of dates - I am no longer growing in this process.  I am stagnating.  Time to go!

7.) Are you happier when you give up?  Have you been trying to lose that last 5 pounds for 5 years?  Why don't you just give up?  Has it been worth all the pain and suffering you've caused yourself?  Does 5 pounds matter to anyone but you?  I was so relieved when I finally sold the bike.  Letting it go was like dropping a ball and chain.  Letting go of the online dating is forcing me to rethink how I use my spare time.  I'm getting back to the things I really enjoy - travel, writing, reading.  Those profiles were all starting to look alike anyway.

8.) Maybe you just need to try another method.  I would be the last person on the face of the earth to suggest that you give up on your dreams.  But after ten years and hundreds of dates, I'm willing to admit that online dating (for whatever reason) just ain't working for me.  Neither did speed dating or singles events.  Maybe it's simply because the man for me would rather die than waste his time at any of those things.  Hell, I don't know.  But it is way, way past time for me to give up.  Thomas Edison had to do 10,000 different experiments to get the whole light bulb thing right, but he didn't perform the same experiment 10,000 times.  And I sure as hell am not going on 10,000 dates.  For me, giving up is another method. 

9.) Are you trying to control the uncontrollable?  I'm just turning this whole thing over to the Universe or fate or whatever you want to call it.  I can't control any one individual any more than I can fly to the Moon.  I can't look at some man's picture on and make him fall in love with me.  Hell, I can't even get a man to call me instead of texting me.  I'm tired of trying.  It's like fighting the battle against aging.  (Joan Rivers - are you reading?  Cher?)  Betty White - you are my hero.

10.) Is it costing you the present?  I admit, I have thought from time to time, "I'll wait until I have a boyfriend."  It would be cool to have someone to take my next big trip with me.  But if I keep waiting for Mr. Right, I'm going to miss out on a lot of awesome adventures.  And the last time I had a "Mr. Right" all he did was borrow money from me and flirt with other women.  I would have SO much rather been solo.  If you can't go to dinner with your buddies because you're dieting or if you're miserable to your loved ones because you hate your job so much - it may be time to give up.  Don't live for some imaginary future and give up the only thing you have - the present.

Surrendering is a hard thing for us Westerners.  Eastern religions encourage letting go of your desires so you can find peace.  I'm going to opt for a little less pain and a little more peace.  Namaste.  Chocolate.


jeff said...

Denise, that's some of your best work. And Van Gogh had to chop off his ear to paint a masterpiece. Comparatively, ten years of losers is a cheap price to pay, no? Thanks for making that sacrifice, though, from all of us.

Don't stop looking, though. Love is a woman. And she will not give you the time of day if she thinks you expect it.


Denise Ryan said...

Thanks, Jeff!! I just had to get hit by a bus. ; ) Ha - easy for you to say! At least I didn't have to pay for all those dates - men have it worse. Hey - if love is a woman, I'm definitely better off ignoring her completely. We all want want we can't have! : )

And sorry to hear about your surgery - holy smokes!

KiddoKare1 said...

Very well said, Denise. You always make me think!

Kris, in New England said...

Denise - #9 resonated deeply for me (well they all do but that one is a standout). I've spent my life trying to control some people who really aren't controllable; or at least I tried to control how I felt whenever near them.

I'm not doing that anymore and it is by far the most liberating thing I've ever done. I kinda feel like Atlas - and I shrugged.

I feel like I can really start my life now...on my terms and not according to anyone else's expectations.

I suspect there are many people out there for whom #9 could be profound.

Denise Ryan said...

I'm so glad you all liked this one! Number 9 is a great one - I could probably write a booke titled "People I Have Tried to Change, Fix or Somehow Alter - and Didn't"

Thanks for the comment, my friend!!!