“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill
― Winston Churchill
I grew up believing that you should never give up. Stick to your guns! Never admit defeat.
I didn't think I was stubborn...just steadfast. Maybe I'd eased into this attitude because I'd moved around from place to place, from relative to relative in early childhood, until I was adopted at age 5 by an aunt and uncle. So by my forties I'd amassed a long history of sticking with endeavors, regardless of the consequences.
"You've got to stay with it," I'd tell myself, returning to college time and again to amass a bacherlor's degree, and then a teaching credential, and finally at age 39 enrolling at UCLA to earn an MSW.
(That did pay off for me...and you can read about that here: http://www.spotlight.ucla.edu/alumni/terri-elders/)
But in my mid-forties I suffered a health crisis. I realized I'd was having difficulty applying mascara properly as I readied for work...because it became smudged by my tears. I knew I had to fight back those tears to avoid veering off the freeway on the way home from work. Nothing seemed to be going right, but I figured I'd have to bear the burden...that's just the way things were, I'd tell myself.
Besides, I felt needed. I'd learned in my training as a psychiatric social worker to recognize secondary gains... payoffs a sufferer might not be consciously aware of. But finally there came a day when simply feeling needed proved a serious hazard to my health...and maybe to my life.
I've told my story for an anthology series called "My Gutsy Story." My story, and the opportunity to vote for it as the best August story, can be found on Sonia Marsh's website here:
If you read my story, you'll see how I found that you do not have to cling to what is...that you can embrace what might be, despite the unknown risks.
Sometimes the courageous option just might be to toss in the towel and step out of the ring.