If you’re reading this, I imagine that you are on the verge of giving up. Or, maybe not. Perhaps, you’re just intrigued by this title. However, I think we can all relate to unfortunate and unexpected results. Maybe something didn’t turn out the way you expected. Maybe life as a whole is not what you thought it would be like. Perhaps, for a long time now, you’ve been working tirelessly toward a specific outcome. Yet, again and again, nothing seems to be playing out in your favor.
You’re just feeling frustrated.
I get it. Really, I do.
Oftentimes, it's a tough world out there. For me, I was completely blindsided by the struggles that came with adulthood. An optimistic at heart, I have been caught off guard by situations that I would have never predicted for myself.
For instance, after just eight months at my previous marketing job, a financial catastrophe ruptured throughout my company, and my career slipped out from right underneath me. It was a normal Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. when I got the news. Afterwards, as tears crowded my eyes, the CFO asked me if I had seen this coming. Of course, I had not even the slightest idea. He then asked me if I had brought a box with me to clean out my desk. Of course, I didn’t have a box.
For over three months now, I have been figuring life out, as best as I can. I had worked so hard toward something that ended up being for practically nothing (or at least, it felt this way). Yet, I rose from the ashes anyways (dramatic, but sort of true), despite the doubt and insecurity that ensued. I decided to finally launch my freelance business, complete draft three of my novel in-progress, reestablish my determination of getting published by submitting my short stories to literary magazines, and undergo life-changing transformation in my spiritual and emotional life. For the most part, it's been working out.
Simultaneously, it’s been a frustrating journey. This is, perhaps, one of the most difficult times in my life. Transparently, I’ve had many instances where I felt like just giving up. Rejection emails swarm my mind, doubt nipping at my heels. I feel like I’m being chased by something, desperate to accomplish everything now. I’ve considered throwing in the towel. Moving on from my dreams, my goals. It’s all just too hard, I think to myself.
But, I think about what my life would look like without my aspirations. What would happen if I let go of the dream of becoming a full-time author? What if I didn’t brave my way through the world of freelancing? Who would I be if I didn’t, at least, try?
Conversely, I think about my child self. Innocent, unaware of how big and oftentimes frightening the world really is. Her sweet smile, stories pouring out of piles of journals that are bent and smeared with grime and pen ink. To her, anything was possible. I want her to know that it still is.
You haven’t given up yet. That’s why you’re reading this, yes? Those dreams, those ambitions are still there, bubbling beneath the surface, begging for you to notice them, to act upon them. I know this sensation all too well. The ideas gnaw at your bones, starved and restless. They’re angry at you for not moving faster.
If you feel like giving up, then you’re probably putting too much pressure on yourself to reach a certain outcome. Like me, you need to achieve a specific goal. Only then will you be happy, right? No. This is not the case; you will still be the same you, once the bliss of accomplishment has faded. You must be secure in yourself before you can feel secure in anything else. Give yourself a break. Relax a little. You’ll get there, I promise. Everything happens on time, exactly as intended.
If you feel like giving up, then you’re right at the edge. It feels as though there’s this wall in front of you, keeping you forever out of reach of your desires. How are you ever going to climb this wall? Many turn around, walk the other way. I know this because I have done this myself. One “no”, and I am convinced that I have failed. Instead, maybe you just need some creative thinking. Could you build a ladder for yourself? Dig into the soft soil and crawl underneath? Maybe, you just need to walk around. Perhaps you do turn around, but you find another path. A path that may take longer to journey across, may look a little different, but will lead to the same destination. Nothing is ever impossible.
If you feel like giving up, then applaud yourself. You’ve been working hard, and yet, you’re still hanging on. Perhaps by merely a thread, but still. You’ve been slaving away at this same manuscript, applying for job after job, studying at university for what feels like decades, immersing yourself into dating apps, working long, late nights in hopes for that well-deserved raise, following your 5k training plan like an athlete and still, not seeing even the slightest improvement in your time. It’s tiring. It’s exhausting.
But please, don’t make it all for nothing.
Maybe your goal is too ambitious. Perhaps take it down a notch. Maybe “publishing a book” turns into “getting a short story published” or “receive first ‘maybe’ in a query letter”. Maybe “getting that raise” turns into “solidifying a meeting with my manager”. Things take time. It’s okay if it is going on longer than expected.
If you feel like giving up, have patience. Pursue peace. This is something my friend told me the other day. When you pursue peace first, everything will fall into place. This is old wisdom that rings true every time.
If you feel like giving up, look around you. What are you grateful for? What have you already accomplished? What steps did your past self take to lead you here? People tell me that everything will work out okay, but I tire of this phrase because it implies that things aren’t okay now.
You are okay. Take a deep breath. Take a nap. Read an inspiring book. Go on a walk. Take a brief holiday. When you are refreshed and doe-eyed, dive back in.
Your dreams are important. Don’t let them die.