Disclaimer: When I talk about giving up, I don’t mean on life. Don’t give up on life, please, for the love of all things good in the world. That’s not what I’m talking about. If you’ve arrived here because that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t aimed at you. There’s support out there, and I hope you get the support you need.
Right, now that I’ve got that out of the way for fear of ending up with a terribly guilty conscience should someone misinterpret my ramblings, let’s get on with it.
Giving up. It’s got such negative connotations, hasn’t it? It’s seen as a failure, a weakness, a Very Bad Thing.
Giving up on a job, a hobby, anything. No one’s shouting about these things from the rooftops. But why not? There’s nothing wrong with it!
But how can giving up be a good thing?
Well, let’s look at what it really means. It means you’ve stopped doing something you no longer want to do. Most likely because doing said thing doesn’t bring you any happiness, and perhaps even brings you lots of unhappiness. And life is way too short to be unhappy. So you’ve given up. Quit. Sacked it off. Packed it in. Whatever other colloquialism fits.
Put simply, it’s putting your happiness first. Something we should all be doing more of.
I’m a serial giver-upper. I’ve spent my whole life giving up on things, and I’ve been so incredibly ashamed of this. I’ve been so bloody harsh on myself, up until having this light bulb moment recently, that giving up is not synonymous with failure.
Giving up is self-care
That’s right. Self-care isn’t all bubble baths, candles, and meditation.
Let’s use January for example. A month I’ve given up on more than I thought I could possibly give up on in the space of a few weeks…
Goodbye hobby, goodbye cat, goodbye job
Ok, so this is one that hasn’t been given up on due to a lack of happiness. I really did enjoy it. This one’s been given up on purely for practical purposes. One day I hope to get back on it.
Towards the end of 2021, I joined a local community-run radio station, as a volunteer presenter. I got to combine my love of music, and hearing the sound of my own voice – what could be better? I’ve always had a massive interest in all things media (two appearances on the telly, a few on the radio – let’s be honest, I’m made for stardom)!
So getting to host my own radio show was bloody brilliant, and I loved it. The beginning of January was tough for me, with a lot going on in my personal life, so I needed to prioritise. My mood was low and I knew I needed to put myself first. I couldn’t focus on being this happy, lively person on the radio, when I didn’t feel it. And that’s ok. I had to put myself first, so that’s what I did.
I’m feeling a lot more me now, so I’m hoping to get back to it at some point in the future. Let’s be honest, the people of North East Birmingham are missing out without Birmingham’s favourite Poppy (self-titled but true) blasting through the airwaves.
I bloody love cats. Always have, always will. Their little faces, their little tongues, their little paws, their little noses, their little teeth. The purrrrrfect animal, if you will (lol). Sorry not sorry. Here I am in my absolute element in a cat café in Thailand back in 2019:
Anyway, ever since moving out of my mum’s a couple of years ago, I’ve wanted to get a cat, but my landlords have never been ok with it. Until now! I moved into my new flat in December and my landlord said yes! So off to the RSPCA I went – it was time to foster. I chose to foster, because I can’t commit to what I want for dinner most evenings, never mind a possible 20 year commitment. Phone interview completed, virtual home check completed, online courses completed. It was time to get a cat – the thing I’ve wanted for YEARS.
Here he was – a beautiful, disabled, blue-eyed Bengal. Playing, meowing… and shitting. Everywhere. He was shitting in parts of the room I’d never even noticed. He knew how to use the litter tray, but sometimes he’d decide to go elsewhere. It was a lot. Mentally and physically. Worrying about whether I was going to wake up to poo on the carpet. The physical side of actually cleaning it up. It wasn’t for me.
I cried. I was so disappointed in myself. Why couldn’t I ever stick at anything? This is a cat who needed stability, needed a loving home, and I couldn’t give him everything he needed. Was I a terrible person? Because at that moment, knowing I’d need to send him back to the RSPCA, I felt like one. But then I thought – wait, the fact that I’m sad about this, and the fact that I want him to be in a better home, shows that I’m a good, caring person. Why was I questioning this part of myself I knew so well? The parts of myself I pride myself on.
Speak to yourself how you’d speak to a friend
Those close to me reassured me that I was doing the right thing. For myself and for the cat. Deep down, I knew that. If a friend was in the same situation, I’d give them the advice they gave me. But for some reason, I’m SO much harsher on myself than I would be to others. And that’s something I’m trying to work on. If I wouldn’t say it to a friend, I shouldn’t say it to myself. I’m just as deserving as kindness from myself. Easier said than done though, so I’m sure that’ll be a lifelong lesson.
So 5 days after getting him, the cat went back to the RSPCA, hopefully to be swiftly fostered by someone else who could cope better than me. There were lots of tears and apologies (from me – not that I needed to apologise, they were really lovely about it), and lots of meows (not from me). And the most important thing was a massive sense of relief, a huge weight off my shoulders. Which meant I’d absolutely made the right decision.
Giving up was the right thing to do, and I don’t feel guilty about that. It’s also been a really good learning opportunity for me. I now know that as well as kids, pets are also not something I can have in my life. I truly am someone who needs to just look after myself, no one else. And that’s absolutely ok!
In December, I left my job of two years to start a new position in January. The job I left was a job I loved. I can hand on heart say that over those two years, I never had one day where I woke up and thought ‘ugh, I’ve got work’. It was a job I was good at, a job I enjoyed, a job which resulted in friendships I believe will be life-long. It was fab.
And then came the pesky LinkedIn message about a potential job opportunity. I ignored it, knowing I wasn’t job hunting. But a couple of weeks later, I was sort of just sat day dreaming, when I remembered that the salary mentioned in this LinkedIn message was a massive pay increase. And there was just this voice at the back of mind saying ‘Poppy, come on, you’d be a fool to just ignore that’. So I responded, went through the process, and I got the job. I was so chuffed!
I’ve never been the type of person to chase money, it’s not something that drives me. But this was too much of an increase even for me to ignore. But the job just wasn’t for me. You know when you just know? It was right there in my gut, that feeling telling me it wasn’t right. I’d been there three weeks and it was time to hand my notice in.
The clichés were all rolling in – the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, money doesn’t bring you happiness, hindsight is 20/20. But that’s exactly what life is about. Learning. Trying out new things. Making mistakes. People will often mock others for trying something and failing. Whether it be starting their own business, or trying out a new hobby. But we live, we fail, we learn. That’s literally how we learn anything and everything in life.
I made a very conscious decision to not apologise when handing my notice in. I’ve always been the sort of person to apologise for things which actually, I didn’t need to apologise for, because I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Leaving a job isn’t hurting anyone, it’s allowed, it’s something you do because doing so will make you happier. So why apologise? I came off the call really proud of myself for not apologising.
I know that may not seem a big thing to many people, but to me, it showed me that I’ve grown. It made me feel stronger. I wasn’t that quivering, awkward, ‘sorry sorry I’m so sorry’ girl I’ve always thought myself to be. I was a grown woman making a choice to do what I wanted to do, to better myself and my life, unapologetically. Yeah, that might sound dramatic when all I’m saying is that I didn’t say sorry. But honestly, it’s important to me.
I’m currently working my notice period, and my manager has been super lovely about it all. I leave in a couple of weeks and then I’ll be going onto a temporary role. Temporary because I’ve got a massive adventure ahead of me in the summer (fingers crossed)! I won’t go into that right now – you’ll have to keep an eye on future posts to find out more.
There will be future posts, by the way. Blogging was another thing I was annoyed at myself about – the fact that I hadn’t kept it up. But then I was like, who cares? I don’t write to impress anyone, I don’t even really write with the thought that anyone else will really read it. I just enjoy writing as a hobby, so this is a good place to do it. But I don’t have to force myself to have a post up every week, fortnight, month. I can just write whenever I want. So there, society!
In conclusion, don’t be an arse to yourself
Just be kind to yourself. You want to give up on something because it’s not making you happy? Great! You’re worried about doing that because you’ve only been doing said thing for a week? Who cares?! You’re annoyed at yourself because you give up on everything, because you can never stick at anything? No, you need to change your mindset. You give up on things because you want to be happy, so you make choices which ensure you’re not forcing yourself through situations that don’t allow you to feel happy.
Because ultimately, being happy is what life is all about.
Featured image by Estúdio Bloom on Unsplash