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Giving Up


The motorcycle bumped three times. It swiveled to the left and shot across the lot. As I fell off and
the Honda Nighthawk tipped on me, I knew I should have changed the gear like they told me.

I was in an intense three-day motorcycle class that was supposed to end with me walking out of that trailer with a waiver to get my motorcycle license.

It ended on the second day with me getting off the ground, brushing myself off, and striding across the lot with my head down trying to ignore the throbbing everywhere. At home, while I nursed a bruise that was four different colors on my calf, I tried to reason why I walked away.

I had forgotten to eat that morning and was weak; it was eighty-seven degrees out and I wore long-sleeved flannel, gloves, jeans, and boots; and (the reason I hated to admit) I was a small eighteen-year-old girl with no physical strength training. I realized that this was the first time I had quit something so abruptly. When I dropped out of important classes in school when the teacher was not a good fit, I returned to them the semester after and got A's. When I kept messing up learning fair isle knitting, I tried pattern after pattern until it became natural. Giving up went against what I believed.

Sometimes, though, giving up is necessary for a couple reasons. 

Here are a few:

1. Giving up means you tried something new.

Spreading yourself too thin is never a good idea. Giving up does not mean experience is wasted: you tried, it didn't work, and you learned something. I never learned how to ride a motorcycle completely, but in the event I need to hop on one to save my life, I learned how to turn one on and balance on it in the heat of the chase. (alright, yes, I'm daydreaming) But all aside, I learned something new about motorcycles and how they work. Also, I took a stab at a dream. It did not work, and it only cost me a few bruises to find that out.
2. Giving up helps you succeed.

If you're failing, it means that you're trying, and that's a whole lot better than not doing anything. Failing may seem like disqualification from success, but if success was a gift bag hidden behind a couch and you were the person looking for it and I was the crowd of friends at a party, I'd be yelling "Warmer! You're getting warmer!" as you walked towards the living room with after looking everywhere else in the house. Failure makes you smarter.

3. Giving up makes you humble.

We all know someone who only talks about the ventures of theirs that succeeded. That is not a bad thing, but it is wrong and unfair not to discuss failure. It's important to share, though not in self-deprecatory excess, what we did not succeed in. It makes us know we are human, and it helps us appreciate what others do that we can not. That's important in order to accept our own success.

Giving up is a fine line to tread, and it certainly should not be a principle. I argue that persistence and fighting should be a characteristic we try practice as much as possible. I plan to return to motorcycle driving if life throws it in my way, but I'm not worried about it. Giving up is not an excuse to be lazy. It should leave you open to new things and new experiences, and it should make you turn around and invest energy into other things. 

The message is this, though: it's okay to step back, whether from a motorcycle or a project or a relationship or something that you realize you are not ready for or equipped to tackle. It's alright to take a step back. Failing at one thing does not make you a failure at life.

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