Know When It Is Time To Hang It Up
Athletes are often hampered by ongoing medical issues that affect the length of their playing careers. One of the most notable examples is former Portland Trail Blazers star guard, Brandon Roy.
Brandon Roy was selected with the 6th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and was acquired by the Portland Trail Blazers on draft day via trade. His impact in Portland was immediate. Roy was selected as the Rookie of the Year in his first NBA season, was a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team in his second season, earned another All-Star selection while placing 9th in MVP voting in his third season, and, at the start of his fourth NBA season, signed a 5-year, max contract. Roy's career looked extremely promising. He was poised to be the face of the Trail Blazers franchise and an NBA superstar for years to come. Unfortunately, his playing career was cut short.
Roy had been battling chronic knee problems since college and in December 2011, he announced he was retiring from basketball after playing only 5 NBA seasons. His knees had degenerated so much that he lacked cartilage between the bones in both of his knees. Roy did attempt a comeback in 2012, but he would only play 5 games before having season-ending, and ultimately career-ending, surgery on his right knee.
Whether it pertains to a job, a romantic relationship, a friendship, an academic track, or any other endeavor, when something does not bring you joy nor do you see improvement in that area--even after putting forth your best effort--then it is time for you to hang it up and move on. The longer we stay in situations that do not bring us happiness, the more likely we are to block the blessings that are waiting for us on the other side of that situation.
Previously, I was enrolled in a PhD program. My decision to do so was strictly to improve my odds of getting a job in my field of study. At the start of the second year of the program, guess what? I got a job. Yet, I remained in the program.
Part of me did not want to abandon something that I started. Another part did not want to let my family, advisors, friends, or the people who looked up to me down. None of those reasons had anything to do with a genuine personal desire to remain in the program. I completed my objective (to get a job), yet I was treating a season, like a lifetime. Because I refused to let go, I suffered and I was unhappy. This August, after years of back and forth, wasting time and money, I finally decided to leave the program for good. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It gave me the space to fully pursue my passions.
We have a habit of remaining in--or revisiting--situations that no longer serve our best interest. Even if they bring us more pain than peace. Be firm in your decision to leave behind that which does not add to your life. Pursue only what brings you joy and fulfillment.
Had Brandon Roy not made the decision to stop playing when he did, he probably
would not have been recognized as the top high school boys basketball coach in the nation nor led his team to a perfect 29-0 regular season record in the 2016-17 season. Had I not made the decision to leave the PhD program, I more than likely would not be writing this blog post right now.
Yes, it is frightening to let go of what we have become accustomed to and what has seemingly become a part of our identity. But familiarity and fear of the unknown, especially, are deterrents to true happiness. When we cling to something that no longer adds value to our lives, we limit what God can do for us. Do not lose everything, chasing nothing. Be courageous enough to walk away from something that does not represent you at your best self. For that which will truly bring you joy and fulfillment is waiting for you.