Give It Up
Back in 2020, when the pandemic just started worldwide, I was innocently grocery shopping and paying the cashier for my goods. She hands me change and within that change comes a $2 dollar bill! I hadn’t seen one of those things in ages. And here it is lying right within my hands – like a piece of uncovered treasure.
I decided to keep this $2 bill with me in my wallet at all times just as a measure of good luck. Honestly, it wasn’t even because of the luck. I just decided to keep it because I thought it was cool to have a $2 bill. After all, who in their right minds actually have one of these things.
So fast forward three years later, and I still have this $2 bill in my wallet. Throughout these three years between 2020 and 2023 it’s just been sitting in my wallet without a thought. I don’t think much of it but at the same time I refuse to use it to pay for anything. I don’t know why.
Finally, last week, I decided to simply give this $2 bill to my good college friend because we were splitting the bill for lunch. And right as I handed him the $2 bill, I actually felt a tinge of regret and remorse. I felt like maybe I should’ve kept that $2 bill. Like I was missing out on something glorious.
And that feeling stayed with me for a little bit. It’s quite ironic that I felt like I was giving up a piece of myself. I guess over the course of these three years, I did gain a sense of innate attachment to this piece of paper. I still can’t comprehend why or why not. I just did.
But now one week later, that feeling is gone. I guess it goes to show you in a subtle sense the pain of loss. The pain of losing something that you are attached to, even if it is so insignificant as a $2 bill. Throughout life, we will go through many periods of loss and struggle. We will lose things that we desire, that we love, that we have grown accustomed to.
That is an inevitability of life. And sometimes, it will hurt and sting a little bit. Imagine that instead of losing that $2 bill, you are losing a friend or a loved one from your life. Or you are losing a marriage. Or a career. Or your health. Or a skill that you depend on to thrive. If losing a simple $2 bill stings, think about how much losing those other things might actually hurt.
So, I think of my loss of a $2 bill and the feelings that came forth afterwards as a valuable lesson of the inevitability of loss. And how sometimes we just need to give it up. We just need to accept that loss is a part of life and that things will come and go for the better. It’s not up to us to disturb the natural flow of things.
Yes, we can control a lot in our lives, mainly our perspectives. But in this external world, where we depend on material things to survive, we will sooner or later come to terms with the loss of something. And sooner or later, we will just need to accept that that is a matter of life. It happens to all of us.
I’ve also actually recently found out on YouTube that the $2 bill is not actually as rare as we all think. It’s still been in constant circulation ever since the 1970s. And you can easily request to have a $2 bill from the bank teller at your local bank. Just like that! So, something that I thought to be super rare was actually not that rare at all.
In fact, nowadays, I feel a sense of relief after having let go of that bill that I just simply never used. I feel a bit unburdened and lighter in my mind, not having to worry or grasp onto that $2 bill wherever I go. Letting go could be painful at first, but in the long-run it could actually lead to a greater sense of peace and well-being.
So, this simple gesture of giving it up that I made to my friend has actually led me to reflect on the nature of gain and loss. And how the human condition sometimes inevitably leads us on to grasp onto things that we desire (or at least we think we desire). So, it’s been quite a lesson.
I will continue to look for lessons in the mundane activities that I do every single day. And hope that I can continue to garnish nuggets of wisdom from this constant laboratory of life, where we experiment and learn and grow consistently.
Loss is inevitable. And it takes a certain level of skill and perspective to come to terms with that. To realize that we are not our material possessions. We are not our titles and relationships and health and money. None of these external indicators should define who we are. Even still, I understand that pain and loss will come hand-in-hand to all of us at certain periods of time.
But there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. And eventually, perhaps you will come to realize that losing something of value isn’t as bad as you’d think it would be.