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Got to Give it Up…

Before I begin this post, I’d like to thank Marvin Gaye for suggesting wallflowers need to shake it now and then.

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I didn’t understand the concept of giving up something in order to get something until I became an adult. And by adult, I don’t mean when I hit 18 or 21 or even 30. No, I mean as of a few months ago. Specifically, I learned it on my birthday way back in August.

When I accepted my new job I had to, of course, give up my old job. I was giving up a lot of comfort. I had an office that was set up just the way I liked it, a lot of work friends and a great parking space. For those of us who live in New York, you know that a parking space can make a person do crazy things. Like stay too long in a relationship that isn’t working.

I gave that up because I wanted to work for a place that matched my interests and where I could really dive into philanthropy in a new way. And here I am – 90+ days later, and I’m learning my way around campus and making friends and really getting a chance to make a difference in a way I don’t think I knew I was missing.

So I gave up one thing to get what I really wanted.

A few days before I started my new job I went to the doctor. To be honest, I forced myself to go because I really didn’t want to hear what was wrong. You see, I don’t sleep far more than I’d like to admit, and I’d been waking in the middle of the night with such pain that one night I slept on the floor of my bathroom because I didn’t want to move. Enter new ‘hot doc’ who took all sorts of tests and prescribed me the purple pill for a few weeks. When I went to see him two weeks ago he mentioned that I have an egg-white allergy. What? No way. He assured me I did and then went to on to explain things like: It isn’t stress causing my hives, or at least not just stress. If I wanted to prove it, I could eat something with an egg and then pay attention.

So I did. And I learned that he was right and I decided to give up whites and yolks because when you decide to do something, you may as well go all in.

Then I gave something up to get better health.  And to stop itching.

Cue to the closing credits of last night. I learned that not one, but two, of my ex-husbands (ok, there have only been two, but that seems so nicely dramatic) are expecting children with their new wives. Can I say I was torn because on one hand I am happy they have fallen in love again and have decided to have kids – I can say that from having A, being a parent is truly amazing – but then I wondered if I have been doing something wrong since my divorce in 2009.

You see, I’ve never once made a real demand on anyone. Never once insisted anyone had to move to another city for me, give up friends for me, change their lives for me…Never once made it clear that at the end of the day I want to be one of two. Not one of three, or four or whatever. I want to fall asleep with someone who loves me and I want to share in their successes and their worries and want them to share in mine. I don’t say that because I never want to make so many demands that people feel pressured…but here I am saying that if the time isn’t right for a partner, then the time is definitely right to go solo. Of course, it is possible that the fact that I’ve been divorced and single means I have made demands. I’ll ponder this over an eggless cookie tonight.

This past week I’ve had to give up the notion of ‘quiet is a good thing’ and realize that in parenting, friendship and career I have no trouble saying exactly what I mean and asking for exactly what I believe is fair but in intimate relationships it’s like I’m in this dark room and I can’t find sound or light. My wonder therapist thinks this is a breakthrough. I hope I can remember this conversation in two weeks.

Have you ever plopped down and looked at what you do well and what mystifies you? Were you more educated once you passed the light across your thoughts or less educated? Did it matter?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts so I can write a plan and stick to it. Or at least write a plan.

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I don’t know that my plan would work for you – sadly, it always seems to be more of a “you need to get to point X and then just decide to jump or turn back”. And everyone’s point X is different.
I’d thought I had given up a ton of things – and always thought that perhaps I hadn’t asked for anything in return – but now when I look back at what I was so angry (yes – angry that I gave up __ or __ or __) I realized I was more angry with myself – and that was getting me nowhere. Because really – I traded in one thing for something else – and it was me standing in the way of making it the best trade-up it could be. That realization hit me, finally, a short bit ago – after nearly chucking it all in because …I couldn’t get past the thought that I had “given up” something.
I moved on in the hopes of something better – and I couldn’t, or didn’t realize how much I stood in my own way in not seeing it. Do I still have to ask for certain things – of course. And it’s still one of the hardest things I do – it takes me forever to decide TO ask – but I can do it, knowing that in trading up for possibilities – I also traded UP for potential returns.


It’s funny, I saw your comment last night and thought to mention the champion post. See, you all don’t need me for anything. :)

I go and go and go. And it often feels like everyone knows where I’ll say ‘enough’, but not before I know I’m getting there. I was unhappy with my last job for a very specific reason: I felt that across the board, there was a lack of teamwork happening. I knew that well before anyone asked if I thought it was a problem.

I see the magical therapist every Saturday at 8am. I went from ‘how did I let this happen’ to ‘how do I address all of the people who make demands of me’ to ‘how to I embrace all this good and not let one thing or another be the catalyst for my sadness’ – or some other such nonsense.

G, I’ve grown sad being on everyone else’s schedule. I know that sounds selfish and in some ways it is. That’s why it’s hard for me to say it because I’m lots of things, but selfish is the one that’s the hardest.

Here goes my essay…


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