The Art of Giving Up – A Malaysian Alien Column #21

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A while ago I went out for a girl date with one of my best friends (yes I am a 5 year old, and have more than one bestie – it’s a good way to live), and it turned into a bit of a whirlwind of different bars and ended up with a gin soaked heart to heart. We started out in a wonderful hidden gin den in Edinburgh, called Heads and Tales, you  should check it out if you’re in town, and had some delicious gin cocktails and mixes.

I had a Bathtub (I believe – my memory is a little hazy on the details) and then made my way through the different independent gin labels, different garnishing, different mixes and even a choice of glassware. We sat in almost pitch blackness as we drank and talked. She had just changed jobs and was full of excitement and enthusiasm about all things new in her life.

By the time we finished up on the ‘What’s New’ news, we were feeling pecking so we tottered along to try a couple of Ninja Buns at Paradise Palms (delicious filled Bao buns in a questionable student bar setting). It was far too loud there for any more than a few noises of appreciation about the food, a couple of ‘we’re too old for this place’ annoyed looks at the DJ, and we were off again.

The final act of the night was a selection of cocktails at The Potting Shed – a great place if you like to have lots of little things to eat, and an array of cocktails to accompany them. And me and bestie got down to the meat of it. There was a bit of a white elephant between us, because we have a shared hobby – dancing. A hobby that had slowly been limping its finely arched feet out of our lives. We both initially felt that we had a shared responsibility on keeping Dance alive in our lives, and we both felt the other might have let the team down. The truth is that it is OK to let these things just disappear. What was once a defining part of you life might not always be so.

You may have dedicated a decade to cultivating a particular skill, in knitting, swordplay, watercolours, whatever it might be, but occasionally you have to let that go too. And chalk it up to something you ‘used to do’.

In my life I have given up singing, swimming, dancing, art and writing at different stages of my life. Sometimes they come back for a brief flirtation before exiting stage left once again. Recently I have given up Capoeira, one of the hardest hobbies to part with because of the sheer dedication and time invested in actually getting anywhere near good. But giving up, I am undoing 7 years of hard work that involved training 2 – 3 times a week, travelling around Europe and once to Brazil for events and workshops and of course, a close network of training friends. Friends that won’t be a part of my life any more because the thing that glued us together was the sweaty contact of classes three times a week.

Us women are often exhibitors of the Duck Syndrome – where you appear to gracefully float along successfully in life, but your little exhausted feet are paddling for their lives just under the surface. Our chat at the Potting Shed led us to realised that once in a while we need to strip things bare: let go of a hobby, let go of your 10k run, or need to bake a cake a week, or any of the other unrealistic expectations you put on yourself. Sometimes just a career, or a relationship, or a home can be hard enough to handle, and that’s OK. Then it’s time to simplify, minimise the noise, and build up your stamina until you can once again juggle your carefully curated social media posts, blogs, parties, hobbies and taking over the world.


Image credit: Unsplash


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