My new year's resolution? No more trying
I'm so done with should
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I am one of life's triers. When I was growing up, this was unequivocally a good thing (a good girl thing, perhaps). It wasn't the winning, that counted, we were taught, somewhat disingenuously since society is set up entirely for winners, but the trying that really mattered. Win, lose, come second, third, last... none of it was relevant as long as you could put your hand on your heart and say you "tried your best". Or so all 1970s/80s teachers would have had us believe. (All except sports teachers, I should say, because in my limited experience sports teachers never bothered to pretend to be interested in anything other than first. And for that radical candour I guess we should be grateful!)
As a mantra for life, being a trier has never felt like the worst thing in the world. Synonymous with making an effort, which was A Good Thing™️, it was important to little Sam to try, to be seen to try (maybe even more important to be seen to try?), and to bigger Sam to sweat blood in its pursuit, the better to minimise the risk of ending up with trying's evil twin, failing. And so, I did. I tried, I worked hard, at school, at college and at work 24/7/365. And plenty of times, six, maybe seven, out of ten, anyway, all that effort paid off.
But now I think about it, trying also signifies a constant feeling of coming up short, a ready-made excuse to beat yourself up. Because if you're saying you tried, what you're really saying is, you failed. You tried and found yourself wanting. Ergo, you are not good enough. Trying is both a convenient stick to beat yourself (myself) with and yet, ironically, an even more convenient way out; well, I tried, so what more do you expect? Cue simultaneous shrugging, sobbing and self-loathing.
But more than that, trying is, well, trying – not just for you, the trier, but for the people around you. Try (sorry, suddenly I can't think of another word that works here) working with or for a committed trier, or worse, living with one, and I can only imagine it's downright exhausting.