No, no, not quilting. I’m talking about QUITTING! You know (donezo!, basta!), throwing in that proverbial towel! There’s an acquired art to it. I know, odd right? You grow up your whole life hearing things like: “don’t give up, you’re almost there, don’t be a quitter, you must find a way, keep going, make it work no matter what!” Sure, they apply to some things in life, perhaps a career you’re determined to be successful at or a marriage to someone you truly love. But often times I find this general philosophy negatively influences us to pick paths or make choices that could yield undesirable and regrettable outcomes, all because of this indoctrinated commentary we hear in our heads (on repeat).
I thought this post was fitting since most people tend to make overreaching goals for the new year, and before February rolls around most of us have either forgotten said goals or are holding on to unrealistic expectations. If you ask me, I bet January is probably the most winningest quittingest month of the year! I know it sounds like the wrong foot to start the year off on but listen, the new year isn’t just about fresh starts with new beginnings, it’s also about letting go of the past: the failed trials, the things that weren’t working, the need to find a way through when you’re really at the end of the road.
I couldn’t write about quitting without fairly speaking about perseverance. Hopefully this post doesn’t give the wrong impression that I am an easy quitter because I’m not. Many times in my life, dogged perseverance has won me my biggest successes. But I can also say the same about quitting- had I done so earlier. Much of my 20s were spent holding on to things that took up space and energy in my life where other things could have thrived if given the chance. I held on to jobs, friendships, and boyfriends I should have left long before I walked out the actual door.
Soul-sucking Jobs. After offering me everything under the sun- from a sabbatical with a complimentary vacation, to paying my tuition to return to school- my former boss’ final parting words (before I gave my official notice) were, “don’t do this, you’re less than 2 years away from a director role and a six-figure salary.” It was as if I was leaving everything I’d ever known (everything I thought I had worked so hard for), only to light it all up in flames and walk straight into the unknown- scary AF. But as tough as it was, I left anyway because after 7 years my heart wasn’t in it anymore- I knew I needed change. Looking ahead I also knew I wouldn’t be there in 5 years so the band-aid needed to be ripped off as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean his words didn’t haunt me every single day for the next two years. I had a mission to succeed in my next life: do better, make more, aim higher, show him, etc. But that mission became a warped obsession to prove someone (who was no longer in my life) wrong, and it was far from healthy. When I didn’t reach those “goals,” my confidence faded and I withdrew from life because I didn’t feel like I was succeeding in the way I knew he defined success. This somehow meant he was right; he had won, and I had failed. Then I realized I wasn’t supposed to be doing this for him, I was supposed to be doing this for me and my ultimate happiness. I had originally decided to leave in order to pursue a life of purpose (which I recognize that, in itself, is a form of privilege) and after some lengthy soul-searching, I thankfully got back on track. His opinion (whatever it may have been) no longer mattered because I am living with purpose- my best life yet.
Toxic Friendships. If you have friends who have issues with your success, happiness, passions, relationships, life choices, then these are the people you need to confront. Also, maybe ask yourself why they can’t seem to stand in your corner. Are their intentions what they seem? Do they really just want the best for you? And obviously I’m only talking about the friendships that are actually worth fighting for. The outwardly hateful and negative ones need to get going- GOODBYE!
Bad Boyfriends. I’ve casually dated and explored relationships with many suitors in my two decades of singledom; and my marriage is not perfect (not by a longggg shot) but what I know for sure is you have to love yourself in order to require and receive love from a partner. Figure out and unpack your issues (everyone has them), and only then (I believe) can you figure out the bad apples from the ones who deserve to be in your basket.
Rotten Movies. I don’t remember the bad movies because I never have the patience to sit through one but I guess this is my shameless attempt at plugging my favourite movie, The Town. Have you seen it? So, so good!! Listen, stop what you’re doing and go watch this movie (okay, finish reading my post and then go). I have probably watched this favourite gem of mine 30+ times- not even kidding! Ben Affleck robbing banks and fighting his demons while (hotly) screaming profanities at FBI agents in the streets of Boston is NEVER. A. BAD. TIME. Go!
Terrible Books. My new life rule is if I am not utterly engrossed in a book 50 pages in, I must leave it. Maybe I’ll come back to it, maybe I won’t but I definitely won’t waste time dreading it. This lesson was learned the hard way. I got tired of staring at the printed pages of horrible books and sorrowfully crying inside, “I just want to quit you!” You know, like Jack in Brokeback Mountain (except in my case, Brokeback Mountain was my TBR list and Ennis was a terrible book I did not love). I knew there had to be a better way. I decided I would never finish a ghastly book again. After all, do you know how many books there are out there? And of those, how many great books that are just waiting to be discovered? TONS!
I realize this (quitting thing) may be taken as a blanket statement but that wasn’t the effect I was going for. Quitting anything is extremely circumstantial and hopefully most can relate it to their own situations using common sense and logic. The lesson here is that life is full of so many wonders but it is ultimately short. There just isn’t enough time in a day to fit in all of ones passions, much less things they don’t enjoy. Thus, you must make the space for it; put your limited energy into things that matter and the people that deserve your time. Finally, for the things that cannot fulfill you, fall short, and don’t add some value to your life, I say just
do it QUIT!* ++
*Individual results may vary. Side effects may include, but are not limited to, nausea, headache, involuntary projectile vomiting, regret, overthinking, double-backing, paranoia, irrational fear of failing, etc.
++This blog does not endorse quitting life or quitting EVERYTHING, just quit the parts that are obviously shitty.