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I don’t mean forever.

But sometimes we need to stop. Stop trying to forge ahead, just stop.

And breathe.

I am so very, very bad at that because I am a fighter.

To a fault.

Sometimes, I kid you not, I am contrary just for the sake of being contrary.

Being contrary is my one weakness.

Anyway, in my dottering old age I have discovered that not only are there instances were it’s okay to stop fighting, it is absolutely necessary to grow and perfect oneself. Quitting is, contrary to popular belief, not always a bad thing.

There are days when I lose ground. Maybe I thought I was doing great recovering from an illness, and then one day it kicks my trash again and I have to be back in bed. Maybe I really was going to try and paint my entire living room by myself and then what was so obvious to everyone else is finally painfully obvious to me–that I am in way over my head.

Some days I realize that it is all I can do to maintain what I have. I mean, I know we are supposed to be reaching a higher level of consciousness, looking 20 years younger than we are, homeschooling our kids, keeping germs away from our homes, keeping our germs away from other people, and also starting a side hustle and learning a new language during “the COVID”, but I am kind of at my limit as of right now.

I don’t want to reach a higher level of consciousness. At this point, if someone offered to knock me into unconsciousness, I might consider it.

Yes, I have to admit, almost begrudgingly (because I hate to quit anything!) that it is often wiser to maintain what I have rather than bite off more than I can chew and choke on it and then possibly upchuck all of it everywhere.

And sometimes, when it’s very dark and very hard and very overwhelming, the battle can’t be won. It just can’t. Maybe it’s not the right time. Maybe it is a kid who just won’t listen, no matter what. Maybe it’s a diagnosis that feels like a life sentence. Maybe it’s a family member whose addiction has gotten the best of them.

In those heartbreaking cases (and they come to all of us), I have learned that there is no shame or failure in falling back. Sometimes losing the battle is the only way to win the war.

Honestly, it use to be that when I was finally forced to admit defeat, I would stumble into my base camp and sink in despair and spiral into a void of self loathing, Netflix and stress eating (or non-eating, depending on the defeat). But I’ve changed.

Now, I still stumble in, but then I take the time to bind up my wounds, rest, heal, and strengthen myself.

I take the time to get myself to a place where I can genuinely and sincerely be grateful for the ground I’ve gained and to mourn the losses I’ve experienced. (And sometimes that does involve a little Netflix and ice cream! )

And then, then–when I’ve gotten myself together and I’m ready, I put on my armor and get out there, stronger and more skilled to go on to victory. And I know eventually I will win the war. 

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt

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