Not So Reckless Abandonment.

Something that I find to be an interesting lesson in life is the mythology of the old "Sour Grapes" story. In case you haven't heard it, it goes something like this:
A fox was wandering and came upon a beautiful vineyard. He spots this vineyard and gets very excited to eat the grapes. So he runs up to the tall vines and notices the juicy purple grapes are all up near the top of the plant. He runs to them and jumps, just barely missing the fruit. He tries again, and again. And after several failed attempts to reach them he gives up. "Fine," He says, exasperated, "those grapes were probably sour anyways."
So I completely ad-libbed that story, but I think it goes something like that. My point is, my entire life I have had this fear of being "Sour Grapes" about things. If I didn't succeed, I would insist that it was my fault and beat myself up about it because heaven forbid I consider that it's possibly not a part of "the plan" in the first place. And I understand the concept of never giving up on something, I really do. But some times... in some situations it's okay to give up, I think. It's important to know when to walk away from something.
Like if you LOVE to paint, I think you should do it. And if you're terrible- do it anyways. But by all means- do not become that starving artist who banked everything on your art only to die in the streets. Do not go down with a sinking ship!!
I have always thought of myself as, and forgive the comedy in this because it IS a pretty funny statement, as someone with hardly any pride. If I'm wrong, I like to think I will be the first to admit and own up to my part in it. But I'm realizing that I have this tendency to be stubborn. But, like, in this very peculiar way. I can admit that I'm wrong, but I have a draining opposition to "giving up" or being "sour grapes." It terrifies me for some reason. And it's funny because I don't think that even failed endeavours are a waste of any one's time because everything is a learning lesson and an experience. But I loathe the thought of failing at something and then trying to pawn it off as "whatever, I didn't really want that thing in the first place." Which is funny because you don't really need to do that in your failures. You can fully admit that you wanted something really badly but it wasn't working out and you just knew when to fold. You didn't want to go down with that sinking ship.
The other thing that factors into this behavior of mine is that I think I'd like to live a very poetic life. And what's more poetic than the old "______ conquers all!" ideology? Insert whatever word you want there: love, God, hard work, righteousness. They all work. Being a martyr for what you believe in is a very poetic thought. And especially as someone who humbly considers herself a writer- a poetic life is ideal. I want those moments of  "I tarried and suffered for my convictions!!!" Yea, okay, that sounds like a really nice story. But in the mean time, you're suffering for X amount of time. You are sinking. Your ship is sinking. And you're staying on simply because... well... it makes for a good story. Wow.
And it's the ego in us that wont let us give up some times. And you know, most times it's good to give something all you've got. But it's essential to your well-being to make sure to keep your eyes open for the fine line in the sand when you're fighting a losing battle. And it's alright to have wanted something, and it's still very poetic to have tried. But life is too short to worry about your ego so much. Let it go. Admit that you failed, and look for the lesson in it. Some times the endeavor wasn't ever going to work, no matter how hard you tried. So just enjoy the experience and the thrill you got from working for something.
On a semi-unrelated note, I'll end with another ad-libbed story I recently read somewhere (not a clue where, sorry). I think it really hits home for remembering to enjoy your moments and not worry so much about stuff:
There was a gentleman who loved to have company over for dinner and tea. He would always invite his guests over and after dinner, they would socialize and drink tea while he washed all of the dishes from the meal. One evening, a guest asked the host if he would allow him to wash the dishes FOR him so that he could enjoy the company. The host informed the guest: You may wash the dishes, but only if you do it the right way. The guest was amused, and inquired what the "proper" way to wash the dishes was. The host answered him, "You must WASH the dishes. Do not wash them while thinking about looking forward to drinking your tea. Washing the dishes is an experience in and of itself. Enjoy it. It is the same as if you drink your tea while thinking about tomorrow. You are not actually drinking your tea at all. Enjoy the moment you are in, not the one you are looking forward to."

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