Life after 50

Give Up? – NEVER!

I heard the phrase “give up” in numerous forms throughout my life. No one literary told me to “give up.” Instead, I heard “You can’t . . .” or “Why bother . . .” or “You probably won’t like . . .” All three phrases, to me, mean “give up before you start.”

It wasn’t the idea of breaking parental rules as I was growing up. You know, the rules like

  • “You can’t watch television until you finish your homework.”
  • “You can’t have dessert until you eat some of your broccoli.” (Lucky for me, I love broccoli. It was the canned spinach I couldn’t stand.)
  • It wasn’t the idea of getting involved in anything illegal or dangerous like doing drugs.

But, the “give up” phrase in its various forms did give me a “watch me” attitude. It is that attitude and my open mind that has afforded me numerous opportunities.

Conquering the “You can’t”

The most prevalent “You can’t” form of “give up” in my mind goes back to my freshman year in high school with my geometry. I struggled with the higher levels of math, but not the basics. At the spring parent/teacher conferences, my geometry teacher told my mother that if I had a prayer of passing for the year, I would have to at least get a “B” on the final. Then she added, “And with how she is doing in class, I can’t see her getting that “B”.

Challenge accepted.

I passed that final with a low “A”. The teacher was steamed that she had to give me a passing grade.

These days, I hear “You can’t” (or more prevalent “I can’t) from people I know as well as in groups on social media. The “I can’t”s range from

  • “I want to travel, but I have no one to go with me. I can’t travel solo.”
  • “I want to go hiking or even just go for a walk, but I can’t go by myself.”
  • “I can’t make new friends because I don’t know who I can trust.”
  • “I want to move to Florida but I can’t because I don’t know anyone there.”
  • “I want to try that new restaurant, but I don’t have anyone who wants to go with me. I can’t go alone.”

The external “You can’t” comes from some people who are concerned for your safety, but it also comes from others who are jealous of your independence.

The inner “give up” in the form of “I can’t” comes from our critter brain who insists that it is not safe to do something.

This “give up” leaves you feeling like you are just existing instead of actually living.

Conquering the “Why bother”

“Why bother” has us giving up before we even start.

The “Why bother” that sticks out in my mind came when I told my parents that I was going to audition for the fall theater production my sophomore year of college.

The “Why bother” came from my mother who told me, “Why bother? They only cast the theater majors.”

I auditioned anyway and was cast in a small role, but hey, I was in the cast, I made new friends, and I continued in something that interested me.

When you give in to the “Why bothers,” you don’t allow yourself to discover what we are capable of doing or what interests you. If I listened to my “Why bothers,” I would have missed out on so much over the years.

Conquering the “I don’t think you’ll like that”

When people tell you “I don’t think you’ll like ___,” they are actually relating to you what they don’t like. If you don’t keep an open mind and try new things, you’ll never learn what you like and what you don’t like.

One of the best ways I have found to approach life is with awe and wonder.

  • I wonder where that road leads.
  • I wonder who I might meet.
  • I wonder what I might learn.
  • I wonder what something tastes like.
  • I wonder if I would like a specific activity.

It opens volumes of opportunities.

So, instead of giving up, what will you do to conquer your “I can’t,” your “Why bother,” and your “I won’t like”?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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Until next time . . .

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