message to my friends, don’t give up when things are going WELL, either!, a

I won’t lie. I’m not great at finishing (well, except for that). I like to start up a project– but I often give up halfway through, or, worse, right at the end. Like, college. Or building puzzles.

I’m working on a puzzle that’s currently sitting on my “puzzle table.” It’s my third one in a row. I can’t remember the last time I finished a puzzle on my own (or at least that I was in charge of). I started this, because it lured the oldest out of her room to join me in some bonding time (which I love). It’s not like I never did puzzles before, but it’s lately become a near obsession.

Now it’s something I do every day. Often the munchkin joins me, but sometimes I do it alone. I don’t care whether I have company or not. I’m loving the tiny thrills from solving a puzzle dilemma. And I promise myself, as I dump out the pieces onto the tablecloth, I’ll stick with this to the end. There’s a few hurdles along the way, with each puzzle. But in the end, I pick up the final satisfying piece and carefully put it in the perfectly shaped slot. It’s nice to say, I did this. I guess I’m done on giving up, just because I struggle a bit (and I used to give up very easily!)

They say don’t give up when things are going poorly– not that you can never abandon anything, but don’t give up at the first sign of trouble. I won’t dismiss the message- that many need- that you should press forward even when things seem the hardest. But lately, it isn’t the hard times that make me want to quit. Some of us need a different message , because, you see, what what I’m feeling these days is this:

I’m glad I didn’t quit when things were going well!

Right now, life is going well for me. Life is headed in a good direction. The country (finally!) is moving in a positive direction (in my estimation). And just the other day, I’m telling my master that I want to give up, quit. He looks at me. “What? You want to give up now? When we’re actually winning?”

Which is true. Life has been rather challenging of late, but we persevered. To where we’re not even looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re already there. Business, friendships, legal issues, everywhere. Things are going our way. Things are objectively amazing, not even good. But, yeah, I feel this urge to quit. Stronger than ever.

Some of us want to give up when things are going badly. But, funnily enough, some of us want to give up when things are going well. Some of us are even motivated by the struggle. It gives us something to push against (and, often, ignore our own problems that we don’t have ‘time’ to deal with, because there’s this bigger problem, you see). Sometimes I get run down when life is hard or something is a struggle and the fight…just…never…seems…to…end. But other times, I don’t need to be told not to give up when things are frustrating, because that right then that only makes me want to fight harder. I hate conflict and petty dramas– but when push comes to shove, I’m there.

When things start to go well, society tells us that there should be some big, splashy, colorful finale.

It should feel real. And when it doesn’t quite feel like that, for me, I lose momentum. Sure, life is going the direction I want it, but it’s not going at the speed I want. Or it isn’t quite as perfect as I’d imagined, so I think, What’s the point? Or it goes really, really well…and then one thing doesn’t. What’s the point, right? Or something I want happens. I think, maybe this is good enough. Maybe I should take a break. Except it’s probably now, more than ever, that I need to step up, not quit.

It’s tiring, some days. Even when life is good. Sometimes it can even be harder, when life is good and you want to say, I’m doing shitty. Because there’s no reason for it, right? And you start questioning the point of, well, whatever it is you’re trying to do. Of course there is a point, but when life isn’t some grand gesture or dramatic-superheroes-defeating the-alien-invasion culmination, it feels like a letdown. No massive flurry of congratulations. Just…life going on, but better than the day before. But that doesn’t mean you stop.

You’ve gotta think of all the little victories.

The unexpected hug. The unprompted compliment (“You’re the best Kitty!”). The sweet messages. It’s not about how much you receive for doing something, it’s the positive impact what you do and say makes on this world. Sometimes the world just gets a little better. And that’s wonderful, isn’t it?

When life is going well, don’t stop. Appreciate the little things and big things that come your way. Know that it’s all worth it, because of that smile someone gave you or a passing kind word or just the warm feeling it makes you feel inside.

And always, always, keep pressing forward!

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