I am a Brit raised with the Keep Calm and Carry On approach. However, there are clearly times you have to recognize that – no matter how determined you may be – something is just not going to work.
I have mentioned here before a fig tree in our backyard. Over almost a decade, I have lovingly transplanted it from flowerbed to pot back to border and lastly to larger pot, in the absolute belief that with enough love and care that tree would finally bear fruit. I bound its roots to force it, I fertilized it, I watered it, I pruned it, I talked to it. Nothing.
Then, just in the past couple of weeks, LA has suffered from an unusually intense heatwave – the kind that makes you not want to leave air-conditioning. And so the fig had to fend for itself.
But it didn’t! It died. All that love, all that care, and it died within a few days.
I was so committed to its survival (mostly as a symbol of my own life) that I failed to notice that I was its life. Without me, it had nothing to sustain it.
To my surprise, its demise was a huge relief: no more watering! I can now chuck it without guilt and plant something new.
So what’s the lesson? I agree with Churchill:
Except when it’s clearly the only sensible thing left to do.