Quitting

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Yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes I’m a quitter. But recognizing the difference between “this just isn’t for me” and “I quit” (with a connotation of ‘giving up’) is no small feat. And when making a decision to keep something going vs ending something, recognizing valid reasons for continuation is just as challenging.

I mean, we could apply this line of thinking to everything from jobs, to relationships, to…exercise! And so this is what really gets me – I hate the idea of being a quitter, because it implies weakness, defeat, laziness, and feel free to insert your own adjectives [here]. But let’s face it, sometimes, we make decisions that might have had nothing but the best intentions, only to find that the actual “doing” is not at all to our liking. Maybe it doesn’t fit with the image of oursleves, maybe we foresee difficulties we hope to avoid, maybe we have other opportunities and so can’t carry out our original plans. Let’s face it, there are a thousand reasons to quit.

I often fear that my decision to quit, for example, a job, may be based on other weaknesses. For example, “I have no perseverance” or “I have a difficult time committing” and in an attempt to prove myself wrong, I continue. And though continuation will surely provide lessons for growth and learning, the question of “what else could I have done instead” always nags at me.

And so here I am on the brink of major commitments and tell myself that if I don’t like something – “If something just isn’t for me” – I can always quit. I just hope that at this point in my life I’ve made these decisions to commit with the right motives and a firm understanding of the paths I’ve agreed to travel. But as I so often say, “I’ll just never know until I try.”

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Quitting

on


Yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes I’m a quitter. But recognizing the difference between “this just isn’t for me” and “I quit” (with a connotation of ‘giving up’) is no small feat. And when making a decision to keep something going vs ending something, recognizing valid reasons for continuation is just as challenging.

I mean, we could apply this line of thinking to everything from jobs, to relationships, to…exercise! And so this is what really gets me – I hate the idea of being a quitter, because it implies weakness, defeat, laziness, and feel free to insert your own adjectives [here]. But let’s face it, sometimes, we make decisions that might have had nothing but the best intentions, only to find that the actual “doing” is not at all to our liking. Maybe it doesn’t fit with the image of oursleves, maybe we foresee difficulties we hope to avoid, maybe we have other opportunities and so can’t carry out our original plans. Let’s face it, there are a thousand reasons to quit.

I often fear that my decision to quit, for example, a job, may be based on other weaknesses. For example, “I have no perseverance” or “I have a difficult time committing” and in an attempt to prove myself wrong, I continue. And though continuation will surely provide lessons for growth and learning, the question of “what else could I have done instead” always nags at me.

And so here I am on the brink of major commitments and tell myself that if I don’t like something – “If something just isn’t for me” – I can always quit. I just hope that at this point in my life I’ve made these decisions to commit with the right motives and a firm understanding of the paths I’ve agreed to travel. But as I so often say, “I’ll just never know until I try.”

11 Comments Add yours

  1. katiedid says:

    I think what you’re describing as a fear of being an easy quitter is what for me is a fear to start new things. Those fears come from the same place I think, emotionally speaking.I also find that sometimes for me a reluctance to quit stems not out of a sense of explicit fear, but more out of my own warped pride. I have this desire to conquer, and when I get knocked down I want right back at it until I feel I’ve succeeded. Don’t get me wrong, I think sometimes fear plays into pride, of course. But it’s also something that’s seperate, perhaps a misplaced confidence in that little inner voice that tells me, “no, I CAN do it, I just need to keep at it.” Honestly, sometimes I really ought to pay more attention to the signals that I am simply not cut out for certain tasks, heh. I think it’s that midwestern German-Russian immigrant ethic that I was brought up with at work, because deep deep down I am unable to shake off the philosophy bred into me that hard work always pays off. But I feel ya. That prideful insistence on perseverating at things that are best left undone or unfinished sometimes becomes a very convinient excuse to give into my fear of ever starting a whole new thing entirely.When reading this I was halfway tempted to make a really hack “I wish I knew how to quit you” Brokeback Mountain joke. But those are so played out and tired now since everyone and their dog has been making them non-stop, so I won’t inflict that bit o’ nonsense on you 😉

  2. Rue says:

    “If something just isn’t for me” – I can always quit.This statement says it all. It takes a big person to admit they took a wrong path, and great courage to make the decision to abort the journey. “If something just isn’t for me” – I’ve given it all I can/want to give it and now I am moving on.

  3. marlen says:

    katie – yes, pride…feelings like “I have to push-on, I might feel differently after X amount of time has passed”…damn that pride and dtermination…

  4. marlen says:

    rue – but does it take a bigger person to continue, looking for ways to learn from the experience? This is where I get lost in the argument…

  5. Rue says:

    Nah, that’s just New Age tripe people use to explain why they don’t leave/quit/move on. If not New Age, then good old fashioned martyrdom. It takes nerves of steel to leave a bad relationship/job/family situation/insert situation here, take control and responsibility of your life and step into the unknown but by God it is exhilarating. It takes guts to turn on a dime and change your mind when everyone including yourself are freaking out because they don’t understand what’s come over you. It never loses its magic. Each and every time you do it, you will look back and in retrospect say to yourself: That took balls. I have no idea how I found the strength, but hot damn! am I happy I did it.Now THAT is a learning experience.

  6. Tovah says:

    Approaching something with the “I can always quit” philosophy doesn’t necessarily mean “cop out.” I’ve learned this to a certain extent, even though I continually carry guilt and feelings of failure if I don’t meet up to standards I originally set; that’s my socio-cultural neurosis. When I analyze beyond this I really believe that knowing you can “quit” is healthy and honest, and may be an assessment of the ultimate right choice. Continuing along a worn path can breed stagnation, and that’s much worse than making a due change. And it’s a fact that you never know until you try. Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve got exciting things to do and from what I’ve seen of your life “perseverance” is one of your strongest assets!

  7. marlen says:

    rue – it’s tough, isn’t it? the worst is the in-between time…the not knowing which way to go…

  8. Qwendy says:

    Marls, I am SO with Rue on this. And especially since you are a guy who has learned to “communicate” (I call it “step back” for myself) with his Mom, which means you can actually stop imposing yourself on potentially emotionally charged situations, you are also a guy who probably has the self knowledge and objectivity to know when something really isn’t working. Step two, the courage to act on it, and Quit, congratulations! All of those little voices in your head are just bad habits, and probably someone else’s voices too, most likely someone you know. Probably someone who you are related to. You can start to recognize them when they make their appearances, and you can just know who/what they are, and know that they are not You. Go Marlen!

  9. Kim says:

    This makes me think of the “fear of failure”/”fear of success” being on the same side of a different coin. (or is it the same coin, opposite side… 🙂

  10. athleticdude says:

    “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” I don’t like the idea of quitting just changing direction. Quiting to me is stopping. Think of yourself like a river..not stopping but changing directions. My deep thoughts of the day. yehhaaww.

  11. marlen says:

    Well, as an update, I haven’t quit yet (!)…I’m following through and giving myself some time to feel out this new “responsibility”. I’m feelin the burden, but enjoying the compensation, and so for now, there’s a balance…

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