Letting go isn’t giving up

A month ago, I came back to Singapore after a great trip in the UK. I recalled the feeling that came to me when I stepped into the study room where I worked in. As I entered the room and approach my computer, a sinking feeling in my entire body I have not felt before came over me – it was like I got splashed with water and the water dripped down my entire body. As fast as it perpetuated in mind and heart, it left quickly as I consciously pushed the thought away and told myself – This is what I chose.

But, it was a feeling I did not forget. It has been a good long time since I felt this feeling, of dread.

I look back in my working life and notice the same occurrence happens before the resignation of every job I held in my life. I tendered notice of my first job after coming back from a long Europe trip. I contemplated quitting my second job after a trip to US and later only did it after I came back from my pre-wedding photo shoot from Paris.

Both times I remember the relief and a breath of fresh air, blended with slight nervousness. It is as though it takes a holiday trip to enable me to have a chance to breathe and put things into perspective. When being in the grind of everyday, day in and day out, it is difficult to segregate how I feel and what my normal self is. The trip separated me from the constant weight on my mind and allowed me to feel my normal cheery, light hearted self again. It allowed me to see that I was not myself for a long time. It was like an epiphany. I knew that when i came back, it was time for a change.

It all started.. late last year, after getting news of not being able to service a brand I love so much, although I told myself that it was ok and I have done the best I could do, I often question if there was anything I could have done more. I shared in my dayre post that because I run Just Tangy myself, the journey of me bringing in the brand and representing them was akin to working as a janitor in a big company and slowly rising in ranks into a manager. I started introducing the brand to our customers and then increasing in sales, we partnered with boutiques to do pop up stores. I could not afford to open a physical retail store for them, so I executed the next best way I could, hoping that they could see my enthusiasm and passion. Unfortunately, as all businesses are business, the contract went to a company which could fulfill what they wanted.

To say that I was ok, would be a lie. Perhaps on the outside and consciously I tried to be ok. Deep inside, I felt helpless, useless and even worthless. It took me almost a year to recover and let go.

I tethered between trying harder and letting go during the entire year. If there were signs, they were given to me as close doors through the whole year leading me to this decision. A few brands stopped wanting to do sell, a few brands changed their requirements, a few brands stop selling nice things, and one even is closing down in 2 months time. I brainstormed and I searched for alternatives but I was stuck and I felt like I did not have any other roads to take to continue the business, in chinese; 无路可走. I knew that creating my own line was a natural move and the next best thing to do, so I forced myself to take up jewellery design and went to look for suppliers. Naturally, I am not creative in the art and design way, but more of the business way. I told myself I should try anyway and try harder.

After I came back, I had a very very short whatsapp chat with a good old friend, I told her I no longer enjoy it and I feel like I am just forcing myself. (You know those articles that they said to just turn up everyday? I did that the whole year, but I still felt like nothing changed.)

She said, it is ok to let go if you don’t feel much like it anymore. and it is painful to force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. I asked her, isn’t it a waste? She said it is not a waste, think of the things you learnt and gained. We talk alot during usual times, but this only took 2 sentences from her, for me to see things clearly. 

I think it was then, when I truly started to embrace the idea of letting go. I needed assurance that it was ok to do that. Many people would tell me press on, try harder, don’t give up, and it was like an obligation to do that because logically I have already spent so much time and effort on it to just close down. But perhaps deep inside I already knew, the time is up, good things don’t last forever but they were enjoyable while it lasted.

I don’t want myself to remember that I hated what I set out to do, I want to remember it fondly and be grateful for the lessons learnt, growing as a person, and able to make a living out of it.

Another acquaintance said, “we can do different jobs in different season of our lives, and i hope you won’t think that the previous season is a waste just because it wasn’t forever.” She talked right into me, because I always envisioned myself to think that I would only be counted as successful if it was forever.

But nothing lasts forever, isn’t it? There’s often seasons that we do different things, and thats ok.

The real challenge for a person is to let go of things, it really brings growth to a person as I think it has done to me. I learnt that it is ok while nothing lasts forever, don’t hold on too tightly to anything and enjoy the process.

April 2019 next year, Just Tangy will be 6 years old, I contemplated shutting the whole website down but decide that I would embrace again what I originally set out to do, to enjoy a business. I decided to keep it as a side hobby and create my own line of jewelry.

The next step of course – I am looking for the next new exciting opportunity for myself in terms of career.

Letting go isn’t giving up. It’s allowing myself to find another path, and feel the excitement and endless new possibilities again. This path of our work and career is never straight but is always ever changing.

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