When giving up is hard to do

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readFeb 26
Is giving up pan dulce worth it? I’m scared to find out.

I’m not Catholic, but I like the idea of giving up something for a season. In our society, our way of living, giving up something seems like an extraordinary act of sacrifice. We need to give up things more often. This is the season of giving up things.

I think I should give up thinking, and overthinking, about trying new things. There are so many new things to try, and most never get tried because I think my way out of trying them. Playing guitar is something I have always wanted to do, and thanks to not overthinking, I recently started learning. I’m glad I did.

While I’m thinking about it, I think I should also give up doing things without too much thinking. Somewhere in the middle of it all there is a good balance for thinking. Not sure where it is, but if I think about it too much, I know it’s not there.

Over the next few weeks, eating chocolate and drinking soda will be given up by those that want to sacrifice something for their beliefs. I used to laugh at those kinds of sacrifices, but to some, giving up a Coke with every meal might be the first step in a health journey, and it may be the hardest thing they have ever done. Bravo to them.

I’d like to give up the habit of going to my phone at every spare moment. Giving up having a pan dulce with each cup of cafecito is another. Not sure I can make it too far down that road.

There is a lot I don’t want to give up, and that’s what makes it difficult to give up something. The practice of staying away, of not doing, of self-control. It all sounds so negative. Maybe we should think about these denials as a period of doing new things.

If we pick up new habits, we have to sacrifice, spend less time, on old habits. Like calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. That’s time on your phone, but less of the useless kind of time on your phone. If I visit family more, I’ll spend less time on the couch binge-watching reality shows.

For every new thing we try, we spend time less time doing old things worth giving up. Things we didn’t realize we could live without until we start living without them.

Each year, we make new year’s resolutions. They usually involve picking up a new habit, visiting a new place, starting a new routine. It’s not easy to write down “I shouldn’t do this anymore” lists. We have to admit something about ourselves, perhaps an ugly truth, when we decide that we should stop doing something.

I think giving up something is a sign of strength. It shows self-control and patience. Sometimes a little sacrifice goes a long way to self-improvement, to revealing something about yourself you never knew.

So this season, I’ll give up something. Don’t know what yet, and I don’t want to overthink it. I hope it’s something that when it’s gone makes me a better person.

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.