I gave up last night. On everything. Writing, working, being a husband... heck, I gave up on the very gift of Life itself.
And now I feel a whole lot better.
Honestly, everyone always told me throughout my life to never give up, on anything. Fight, no matter how much it hurts, or you'll never get a job/get into university/pay the bills/have a relationship/achieve anything. Don't stop, not for one second, not for one billionth of an atosecond, or it will all vanish and you'll spend the rest of your life as a worthless FAILURE!!!
That's a fair bit of pressure to put on someone.
And let me tell you something about giving up... it's pressure free! No stress. At all. But how, I can hear you asking, will I pay those bills/finish my homework/raise the kids/clean the bathroom/make something of myself? Not my problem. But Tim, you can't do that! Too bad, I just did.
Want to know what I did last night, after I gave up on everything? I kicked back on my couch and played Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick on my Playstation 2. That inspired me to watch Army of Darkness again, so I did. Then I played with my cats, Karma and Ron. I scooped the crap from their litterboxes. I even cleaned and refilled the almost-empty one! Then I lay back on my bed and read a good book before turning in for the night. Not once during that time did I feel so much as a smattering of pressure, even when the Terror of the Deadites threatened to overwhelm me (no, that's not a metaphor for something, I'm talking about my Evil Dead game).
And this morning? The morning after I gave up? I got right back into things again. I did a solid chunk of writing, I met with a friend to play chess, then I returned home to blog. This afternoon, I'm planning to make another video.
I feel great. Refreshed and Relaxed. And I owe it all to giving up.
But only for one night. I just needed a little break from things. Perhaps I should have simply called what I did last night a break, but that wouldn't have sounded nearly so controversial or upsetting. Besides, all we really have is the present moment, so giving up for a moment is just as real as giving up for a lifetime. But it doesn't have to be for a lifetime. You have the right to change your mind and get back to it any time you want to.
Giving up isn't a bad thing. It's just a thing. Some things should be given up on. I joined a team in high school that turned out to be a haven for bullies, but I stuck with it (and was fairly miserable) because of all that never-give-up talk. Abusive relationships should be abandoned, harmful situations avoided. You're doing nobody any favours by sticking to something that brings you pain. That word 'retreat' was created for a reason.
When life gets to be too much, just give up (or, if you prefer, take a break) for a little bit. Enough to get some wind back in your proverbial sails. Your problems and responsibilities will still be there when you're done, I promise. And you'll be better prepared to face them.
Even if it is the Terror of the Deadites.