Should we give up giving up?

Did you do Stoptober or Movember this year? Will you be renouncing chocolate for Lent? , asks columnist John Cooper.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 8:45 am

I often think that I might give up watching repeats of ‘Are You Being Served’ on ITV3 but I never get around to it.

Aside from raising money for charity, why do people abstain like this? I suppose we give things up to test ourselves, not a bad thing per se.

I got to thinking about all of the things I’ve given up in my life. I no longer dive in to swimming pools because it hurts my head. I don’t drink tequila because it hurts my head. I don’t watch BBC Question Time because, well, you know.

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In my life, people have come and gone, from old friends to old enemies. A few caused me some sadness, most drifted away and I barely noticed. One of my best friends moved to Canada about ten years ago and I haven’t seen him since. I don’t suppose I ever will again. I have stopped trying because it seems that he has given me up. There were Facebook messages for a few years and then they petered out. My calls, texts and emails went unanswered. I don’t think that he’s in touch with anyone from England, but perhaps I just tell myself that to feel better.

Sometimes, things go the other way. I’ve been out with my friend Shaun a few times over the last couple of years. We saw a lot of each other as teenagers and then lost touch for about 25 years. One day he called out of the blue and asked if I fancied going out for a pint. I didn’t realise until we met that I’d really missed his sense of humour and generosity of spirit. We found a new friendship born from the ashes of an old one. We reminisced, laughed a lot and talked about the changes that we’d been through.

There is something about finding a thing you’d lost, that is very comforting.

This was an old friend and a new friend rolled in to one. We barely talked about the past at all, instead we talked about where we found ourselves in our forties and the people we’d become. The present, if done right, is always more compelling than the past.

Some people are with you through thick and thin, some come and go. Some just go and don’t come back. One thing is certain, it ain’t over baby, ‘till it’s over.

I’ve a feeling that my friend in Canada is feeling pretty lost and could do with some help.

There isn’t much I can do but wait until he asks for it. He probably won’t. I won’t give up on our friendship though, because this is a long life and who knows where the wind will take us?

We lose things in life. We find things we thought we’d lost.

The tide goes out and the tide comes in. And that’s alright.

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