Diary of Surrender: Week One

Giving up takes work.

Adeline Dimond


“The Trees, Early Afternoon, France” by William A. Harper; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Open Access Program

About ten days ago, I wrote that I wanted to give up, to say fuck it to striving for anything. I wrote this as if it were a revelation, but if I’m honest with myself (and therefore you) I feel this way at the end of every year. Everyone else does too. I don’t think I’m special in this regard.

But there is one difference, for me, this go-around: I understand that the practice of giving up actually takes some work. Ironically, you need a basic level of discipline to stop doing exhausting yet futile things. At the end of each year, I’d vow to give up one thing or the other, and then come February I’d be back to trying again: trying to lose weight, trying to find a guy, socializing, going places, planning trips. I’d mindlessly fall back into the groove of attempting shit, exhaust myself, and then make the same promise during the last two weeks of December.

I just never wrote about it before, and now that I have I realize that giving up takes actual, conscious work. So this year I’m going to document it. Observe it. Figure out where I go wrong, why I stop trying to not try. I’m going to keep a (public? can’t decide yet) diary to understand why it is that I mindlessly fall back into the race. I should therefore offer a disclaimer: the writing below is more for me than for you. It really is a diary to help me make sense of what I’m trying — or not trying — to do. In this way, I’m breaking the contract between writer and reader.

If the last few days have taught me anything, it’s that old striving habits die hard. You have to kill them dead. Case in point: as soon as I told myself last week that I was done trying to find love, I fired up the Bumble app and swiped like crazy.

This makes no sense and I don’t know why I did it. It feels similar to the proclamation that “the diet starts tomorrow!” and then eating a cheeseburger and fries. With ranch dressing on the fries. And a chocolate shake. One last hurrah in the cesspool of the dating app economy.

I was surprised to get matches at 51; I was under the impression that one really does age out of the dating pool at some point, so that was interesting. But as soon as a match wrote back, I got exhausted and abandoned the whole endeavor, even though I had that little Jewish…