Sunday 8 November 2015

AWAKE: Thoughts on Giving Up

Thoughts on Giving Up

"I won't give up, this won't be the last you'll hear from me," sobs the contestant just voted off a televised talent show. "Don't give up, you can do it!" Shout the people on the sidelines of the London Marathon, cheering on the runners. "Never gonna give you up!" Sang Rick Astley (truly deeply sorry about this reference).

Here's the thing though - I think we should cut 'giving up' a bit of slack. Sure there's a lot to be said about perseverance, and there are a lot of things that I didn't think I would ever manage to do, but got there in the end after a lot of blood, sweat and tears. However, there are also things that I've given up on that I do not regret at all. In fact, I want to reclaim the territory of 'giving up' - I believe it's important to know when to call time on things, especially when they are no longer bringing you joy and you don't want to do them anymore.

So, read on to find a few things that I gave up on (big things and little things) and couldn't be happier about...

Wanting to be a Teacher
When I was growing up, I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was older. I had a few ideas, but none that materialised into a 'proper career'. I think at the time, because school was one of the only working environments I'd experienced in my life, being a teacher seemed like a good career choice. I understood what work they did, and some of them seemed to really enjoy it. It wasn't until my later teens that I admitted to myself and others that it wasn't what I wanted - I didn't like the thought of trying to teach uninterested children, or being put under pressure to raise grades. I felt so much happier after admitting that I had no idea what I wanted to do, and whilst at the time it was scary having no career path mapped out when some of my friends were fully decided, I was so relieved that I was no longer forcing myself into a career I didn't want.

Murakami's 1Q84 Trilogy
I pride myself on never giving up on a book, so this one still really annoys me, especially seeing as I was one and a half books into the trilogy. However, I didn't (and still don't) get it. Everyone was talking about this set of books, so the fact that I didn't enjoy them made me feel very frustrated whilst reading them. It's not that I found them boring, or mediocre at all, they were just not my thing, and as soon as I stopped reading, I realised that not everybody can like the same thing. And that's fine! I'm looking forward to reading a little more Murakami in the future though, as his writing style is very interesting to read.

A 'Proper Job'
There are two types of jobs - ones that are just getting you through until the next one, or the ones that have opportunities for promotion and a career spanning years. This one was one of the latter ones, and whilst it was sometimes nice having that kind of security, it was also terrifying to think that I could be in a job I hated so much for so long. I used to dread going in each morning so much it would make me feel sick! I've since learnt that that type of job (being under a lot of pressure to make sales) really doesn't suit my personality, and whilst at the time I felt like such a failure for quitting, I learnt so much in terms of what kind of job I really want, so it all worked out for the best. Oh, and if you're interested in finding out more about your own personality, I recommend this test. I'm not quite sure how scientific it is, but it really rings true for me!

The Suede Skirt
Wow, this seems like a long way to say I'd given up on this project, doesn't it?! Sometimes my sewing and knitting projects lead me to start thinking about bigger things, and this was one of them. I got so far with sewing up my leather skirt, and I learnt quite a few things from the process - inserting kangaroo pockets, topstitching, and working with leather. I was having quite a few problems though - I didn't have enough leather to complete the project as it was, and also one of the leather offcuts was completely the wrong type for a skirt (it was ridiculously heavy!). I reached a point where I realised it would be tricky for me to continue, and I decided to pull the plug on it, mostly because I was questioning how much wear I would get out of a suede skirt anyway (also I think I became overexposed to them from the highstreet!). Don't worry though, no leather has been thrown away - I am saving it to sew up a bag of some sort!

Of course, just like anything, giving up doesn't have to be forever. I'll definitely be trying more Murakami, am looking forward to my next 'proper job', and I would like to try sewing up another variant on a leather skirt in the future. I won't write too much about 'giving up on giving up', because I think that might make my head hurt more than Inception did!

So, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and any stories you have about giving up on things.

Also, truly sorry if you've got to the end of this post and are still singing Rick Astley ;)


  1. What a great post, Charlotte! I tried to comment before but I don't think it worked for some reason! This post really struck a chord with me. I'm a big believer in perseverance and working really hard to get to where you want to be, but I came to the conclusion recently that there's something courageous about giving up. 'Giving up' has all these negative connotations, but I think it's brave to realise when something's not right or not working and change direction to something that makes you happier. A very thought-provoking post :)

    1. Thanks Gemma, I'm glad you liked reading! I think what changed my way of thinking was when I realised that with certain things unless you give up, you could be doing them for a long, long time, and it totally made me reassess what it was I really wanted to do. Perseverance is something that is still really important, but I just think we all should be a little more accepting of giving up on things that are no longer working :)