Giving Up

train

Not too long ago, I was given an opportunity for which I worked very hard. But it just didn’t work out for a multitude of reasons. So I gave up. I walked away. And I haven’t looked back since.

But at the same time, I feel a sense of emptiness related to this decision. I’m not the kind of person who gives up; I’m a survivor who perseveres. It isn’t about winning or even about being successful — it’s about having the opportunity to try.

A lucky few people are given opportunities. Others voraciously hunt them down. Others are good at spotting and taking advantage of them. Others create them from nothing as a means of transforming energy because it is necessary for survival. The opportunities I have had in my life have been of all four sorts.

This particular opportunity was of the third kind, one that emerged in my life and one which I actively pursued. I thought about it, dreamed about it, for a long time. But those thoughts and those dreams were soon squashed by the reality of the situation. In retrospect, it really wasn’t an opportunity — it was something else, something which I can’t yet fully describe — at least not in public — cloaked as an opportunity. And I naively fell for it.

Yet, I am still filled with regret — not because that situation is no longer a part of my life, but because I feel like I packed it in. And I am too young, too smart, too clever, too kind, too hardworking, too (fill in the blank) to give up. It feels like I not only gave up on this opportunity, but like I gave up on my entire life. On myself.

But not really. I left that one thing behind so that my life could be more full of beauty, happiness, fulfillment, and peace. And it is. It really is. But I also feel like I went from a situation of struggle to one of stagnation. Albeit one that is temporary and transitional. Next stop, new journey: splendid searching and pursuit of new opportunities for learning and growth. That is what it means to be fully alive — to be open to the unexpected unknown opportunities, both subtle and obvious, that emerge from moment to moment. I’ve just stepped off the train for a moment to catch my breath and take in the beautiful view.

Seasonal Sensitivity

winter

I can remember a time when, at about 12 years of age, I walked through the snow in bare feet. For fun. I loved the feeling of the crisp white flakes beneath me. I can also remember loving hot summer days and coming home a hot dirty mess after playing outside all day long and feeling perfectly content and fully alive.

I must be getting old (and you need not remind me that I celebrated a big birthday just two weeks ago), because I no longer enjoy the extremes of the seasons. I function best when it is about 50 to 85 degrees. When it is colder or warmer than this range, I find myself feeling uncentered and longing for those perfect weather days that seem to be becoming more and more rare. So I find myself spending way too much time indoors, protecting myself from the both the blistering heat and the chill of cold winter days.

We find ourselves in patters such as these throughout life. We become trapped in our comfort zones, avoiding things we dislike and becoming somehow disengaged when forced to deal with undesirable circumstances.

What alarms me most is that my comfort zone seems to be getting smaller and smaller. While I once enjoyed the extremes of weather, and not all that long ago, I now only feel my best when the weather happens to be within a range of just 35 degrees. Perhaps this is because more life experience results in a stronger sense of what I most appreciate and desire. Or perhaps this is because I am stuck and clinging to something that arbitrarily brings me comfort in a world where so many things seem to be out of my control.

Either way, immersion in a variety of experiences, especially those which seem challenging to us, make us stronger, more compassionate, and more interesting human beings. So while I really don’t like it when it is hot and humid outside, I am going to do make the most of what is magically presented to me every day and look for the enjoyable excitement, rather than the distraction of discomfort, which that brings. Such is life.