Giving up is something I’ve been trying to learn the last couple of years. It doesn’t come naturally to me (or any American, probably), but it does take away some chronic stressors. From a business standpoint, the things I’ve given up on are all things that have had no return on the investment I’ve made trying to achieve them. I’m not saying that the good things in life must be defined in terms of capital, but I have limited means to invest, and so I’ve opted out of markets where I’ve been wasting my time.
I’ve given up on dating. My last relationship ended in February, and in that time I’ve gone on 3 dates, and have been canceled on or stood up probably 9 times. I haven’t even tried since June. I’m a 34 year-old single dad, which severely limits both the available time, and the number of women who might be interested in me that I am also interested in. For awhile I was going out by myself, but I became envious of all the couples I saw. For all the time, money, and effort I was expending, I was in the same spot. I keep reviewing past relationships in hindsight and second-guessing my decision-making. In my experience, there’s never a clear answer when it comes to love.
I threw a party a few weeks ago and invited about a dozen people that I consider friends or see on a regular basis. Most said they’d come, but only three showed up. A year ago I would have invited dozens of people, but in that time I’ve reduced my “friend list” from a couple hundred to about four dozen. I removed everyone who I hadn’t seen or heard from in nine months or more. I’ve also pretty much stopped using Facebook. I unfollowed everyone left on my friends list, and only use it for messenger or events. Drastic, yeah, but if people want my company, they know how to get in touch. The people I’m still in touch with, I was in touch with on the regular before. I have three folks I’d consider good friends. We talk weekly, and did so even before I started radio silence.
By now I was hoping to be married, with a fleet of kids, and living in a nice home that I own. To be settled down. Maybe have air conditioning. I’ve given up on those goals. I made a couple of poor decisions in 2007 that irrevocably changed my life. I’ve resigned myself to being a single dad; to not having any more kids; to renting for the rest of my life. The kids piece is the hardest one for me to reconcile myself with. As an only child, I always swore that I would have more than one child myself. Being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, but it’s only going to happen once.
Having given up on the above, I am better able to focus and invest my energies on being a dad to Abraham, and working hard at my job. After those items are squared away, I’m fairly monastic. Bike rides, walking my dog, maintaining the house I rent. Trying to simplify. If not happy, at least content; mindful. It is very hard.