Nancy Roman

Not Giving Up

Earlier this week, my husband and I stopped for ice cream, which was practically mandatory as it was ‘buy one, get one half price’ day at Carvel.

We don’t usually take full advantage of BOGO day, which I think annoys my husband because the offer is for sundaes, but I would rather just have a nice cup of vanilla, thank you. So my little cup at half price is not as much of a bargain. I have tried to convince Hubby that we save even more money this way, since the sundaes are more expensive to begin with. But savings 50% off something expensive does seem to have more appeal. I lessen the sting of buying something cheaper by getting one size larger than I normally would. That way Theo can have a bit too.

But this little anecdote really doesn’t have anything to do with the bigger anecdote.

Which is this one:

We sat down at a long picnic table where a man and woman already occupied the far end. They were old, very old. Perhaps almost our age. Perhaps a bit younger.

The man wanted something, and it appeared from the conversation that he wanted it quite badly. I didn’t hear what it was that he wanted, as I was a little late in my eavesdropping.

But the woman asked him,

“What would you give up for it?”

This, I think, is a very good question.

They got up and left and I never heard the answer.

But I started thinking about that question and my answer.

What do I want and what would I give up for it?

Well, naturally I want world peace and a cure for cancer and justice for the poor and abandoned. I guess I would give up quite a lot if I could have all three. Some people even give up their lives. That is astounding to me.

The closest I have come is when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer. He wasn’t even two. He was so desperately ill, and I wondered – especially in the middle of the night – if there is a God and whether he could or would help this little baby. I wondered if someone told me I could change places with this small child – if I could take on his cancer so he could be healthy – would I? I thought about that a lot. I decided I would. I would rather have cancer myself than to see it in that sweet kid.

Once I knew that about myself, I felt a great sense of comfort. And my nephew survived and is a teenager now. He’s well – in every way that one measures wellness.

I’m still not sure I believe in God, but if She exists, I think She mostly helps doctors and nurses to do their jobs well.

And what about me personally? What do I want?

I would like my novels to be recognized and successful, for one thing.

But you know, as far as what would I give up? I don’t think I have to give up much. Because I like them, and I am proud I wrote them. So they are already successful to me.

But oh, if everyone else loved them! That would be pretty sweet. But extra really. I’m good right where I stand.

And wealth!  I want to be a billionaire.

What would I give up to have an endless supply of money?

Well, I wouldn’t want to work at a job I hated. I wouldn’t want to be unethical in my dealings or have to lie constantly. I wouldn’t want to move away from my friends and family. I wouldn’t want to be hated. I wouldn’t want to give up a single year of my life for more cash.

So what would I give up to be rich?

Not nice weather. Not my favorite songs. Certainly not my pets.

Maybe coffee. But maybe not.

And of course I would like happiness now and through the end of my life.  Well, I think I am okay there too. No one can predict the future of course, but I see a happy future.

What would I give up to ensure future happiness?

How about worry and envy and resentment?

You would think that those are easy to give up. Not so, I see. No one wants to worry. No one wants to be angry. And yet, like most people, I am. Often.

I hang onto my hurts and grudges like they are the flags that define me. I nurse them in my heart.

I need to take much better care of my joy.

While I sweep away my resentments with the toaster crumbs,  I need to take out my joys and look at them over breakfast every morning. And admire how everlasting they are. How strong.

I wouldn’t give them up.

Not the books I have written. Not the books I have read.

Not the walks I have taken. The sunrises and sunsets I have seen.

Not the flowers I have planted and seen bloom around me.

Not my pets. Not Theo the dog. And not the cats – not Thor nor Niko nor Athena – not even cranky old Lillian. Not Moonlight the horse.

Not my friends. Not my old friends from childhood. Not the new friends I have made.

Not my family – and not their health. Not my husband. Not my mother. Not my sisters nor my brother. Not their families, including my in-laws, my nieces and nephews, and the children of my nieces and nephews.

And if I should lose some of those I love – and I will, of course, eventually – they are still everlasting.

Everlasting in my joy.

I’m not giving that up.

You can keep the money.








  1. what a wonderful question to ask ourselves or others. great post –


    • Thanks, Ksbeth. I need to ask this a little bit more, before I expend energy wishing for something I don’t really want.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very thought-provoking, Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An excellent question to ask whenever you “want” something (because if you don’t have to “give something up”, then the reward isn’t as appreciated, in my opinion). When my husband was considering an earlier-than-“early” retirement (by a year), we discovered the different in his pension would be about $2,500 a year. He immediately said, “That’s what I spend on cigarettes; I’ll give up smoking.” I was shocked – he was a pack-a-day guy and had smoked for 40+ years. But he did give it! We gave up quite a few “conveniences” when we left the city to live in the country, too, but we decided they were all worth it (and I really don’t miss them). This was a really great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a practical solution your husband had!


  4. Cramps, give up cramps…all types.


  5. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t give up much in my life either.


    • It’s funny, Kate, how we complain but when it comes down to it, we’re more satisfied than we thought we’d be.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Linda

    I really needed this right now. You are always spot on in my world. I wouldn’t give up much, but I would give up SOMETHING to have that adorable Theo kiss ME on the cheek!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He really is the love of my life! (but OMG, there are times I could strangle him!)


  7. Something we need to make a sacrifice to acheive someting better


    • That’s why decisions are so hard – we hate to give up the old in order to have the new.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. kamrul khan

    nice post

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I really like this perspective. I think this can also help when feeling envious of or inferior to other people and their achievements. For example, one of my professors is only a few years older than me, but she has published so many articles, written book chapters, attended conferences, won awards etc. Sometimes I feel inferior because I haven’t achieved anything like the amount that she has. But then I think about all the sacrifices she must have made – the social events she probably missed, the time not spent with family and friends, the energy and effort and discipline required. And I realise that this is a price I would not be willing to pay (not that I’m not willing to work hard for things, but I also very much value my free time!), even for all those accolades and accomplishments.


    • I knew a man who had a really prestigious position – and he took an early retirement package when he was only about 50. Most of his coworkers (including me) were shocked. I asked him why he did it and he said, “My kids don’t even know me.”


  10. There is little I would give up stuff for and there is little stuff I would give up because I like my stuff. Although when push comes to shove things might be different because who really knows what they will give when the time comes


    • Oh, I have to thank you because you have reminded me of a story I need to tell. Stay tuned, Joanne. The next post will be inspired by you.


  11. Great post, much food for thought. And my favorite photo of you ever!


    • Thanks. It’s my favorite photo too! I actually thought of using it for the author photo on my last book. But friends told me that some people would be disappointed that the dog wasn’t in the story!


  12. stitchbistitch

    I’m new to your blog. I really liked yourpost and the question you left me with!


    • Thanks for reading!


  13. It’s a good read really. That question also got me thinking. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

    Nancy, thank you. This is nicely written and well felt through. I feel the same about my books, one novel and the rest non-fiction. A book is part of a conversation among us and those who read mine have that much more perspective and information. So I’m going to start reading your books. Will I find them on amazon?


    • Thanks, Patricia. Yes, both of my books LUCINDA’S SOLUTION and JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED are exclusive to Amazon.


      • Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

        Great. I’ll find them. What is your last name?


        • Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

          Found you last name and got Lucinda’s Solution. I already love it. I like historical fiction, especially when the author gets the voice of that time along with the surrounding culture. You clearly know what you are doing.


          • Thank you so much for giving my novel a try. The story was based (very loosely) on my own family’s history.


  15. This is just beautiful! Really touched my heart, can’t wait to read more xxx


  16. I really love that story


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