We celebrate those who persevere for the long haul. We admire marathon runners and Ironman triathletes for their athletic perseverance. We respect PhDs and medical doctors for their academic perseverance. But sometimes staying in it for the long haul isn’t so commendable.
For example, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. I used to love this show. The characters took me on a roller coaster of emotions and left me craving the next episode. But after 1o seasons, it’s just not that compelling. As I was watching the two-hour season premiere, it felt like forever.
So why am I still watching? For some reason, I’m in it for the long haul. I feel like I’m invested in the characters and want to see how it ends.
I do the same thing with books. I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally not finished a book. (Although, I left one in the seat pocket on an airplane once, which made finishing it difficult.)
Even though I’m supposed to be reading for pleasure, I keep reading despite a lack of pleasure. I suffer through until the end.
Maybe it will get better. Maybe the end pulls everything together. Generally, it doesn’t. But I still feel compelled to finish.
I also finish food. Since it’s the season of cake, I’ve been eating a lot of cake. In fact, I ate half of Mr. HalfFull’s birthday cake pretty much by myself. If you recall that my father only makes double batch birthday cakes, that means I ate a whole cake!
We ate about half of the cake at my parents’ house on Mr. HalfFull’s actual birthday. But they sent us home with the rest. It took me a full week, but by eating two or three slices a day, I finished that sucker!
That did not mesh well with my health and fitness mentality. While relaxing on the couch one day, Mr. HalfFull commented on the juxtaposition between a defined muscle on my leg and my “cake belly.”
You may be thinking that cake is delicious. So how hard could it be to eat a whole cake? But I don’t only persevere with scrumptious desserts.
Once I went to a vegetarian restaurant. I’d been there before and ordered a dish similar to a normal chicken dish. Instead of chicken, it was tofu, but the texture, color, and taste was very similar. With enough sauce, you can make anything taste like chicken!
But on this visit, I decided to go off the reservation and order something unlike my normal fare. So I ordered macrobiotic tofu. It came in slices and tasted like dirt.
A normal human might have left it at the restaurant. But I packaged it to go! I continued to eat the “dirt” for the next four days because I could only tolerate one slice at a time.
To Persevere or Not?
My long haul mentality ends with entertainment and food, since I was able to quit my job before death or retirement. I guess I know how to cut bait at times.
I’m not sure exactly what compels me in some of these situations, but perseverance can be an amazing quality if directed appropriately.
- What do you pursue for the long haul?
- Do you still watch television shows that have lost allure?
- Do you finish reading the books you start?
- Are you more likely to finish food or throw it out?