I have a love/hate relationship with quitting. I don’t like failing, giving up, and not following through. I also don’t like feeling stuck, complacent, or like I’m settling. With all of the things going wrong and right in my life I’ve decided it’s time to quit a couple of things.
I love This American Life. It’s my most favoritest (yes, I said that) podcast and a recent mid-midlife crisis has me recalling one of my favorite episodes: Quitting. I’m a little fuzzy on specifics, so I’ll be revisiting the episode in the very near future, but the gist of it is that quitting. is. good. Quitting is liberating. Quitting is exhilarating. Quitting is necessary and should be done routinely. Quitting opens up doors to new possibilities, often ones that wouldn’t be present without completely letting go of certain things and people. Basically, quit and quit often.
So what am I quitting?
I’m quitting grad school. Okay maybe not quitting, but I’m changing programs. I’m two years in and have completed almost all of my course requirements. The only things left are practicum and internship and I’ve been dragging my feet about looking for and applying for possible sites. All of a sudden about a week or so ago, the reason behind this hit me: I don’t want to be a therapist. I would enjoy – and am much more suited for – research, maybe teaching, maybe a career in the field of Psychology but not a therapist-at least not anytime soon. This feeling has come and gone over the course of the past two years in my Research Methods and Stats course. In Psychological Assessment. In Career Counseling. But the whole time I kept ignoring it. To finish with a different degree than what I started pursuing struck me as failure but in the big scheme of things, having a degree and being in a career that I don’t feel led to do is the real failure. So I’m in the process of quitting. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do a little research, weigh some pros and cons, and get some second opinions first but as of now, even just the thought of quitting has lifted a gigantic weight off of my shoulders.
Second: I’m quitting fear – at least where relationships are concerned. Once again I’ve found myself in another interesting relationship. Just got out of one five months ago and this one just popped up and took off, despite my insistence that I just want to be single for a while. My initial instinct was to be cautious so that I wouldn’t repeat the last relationship but I can see clearly that this relationship has yet to give me any of the major red flags of the last one. I realized I’m just scared because I let myself get comfortable with fear. But I don’t want to live in fear of failed relationships. Even if a relationship fails, I feel like that failure is necessary and serves a purpose. So yeah, no fear. Living in the moment. One day at a time. All that cliche stuff. Yada yada yada.
I find myself stuck in ruts quite frequently. And in the past I felt that the answer to getting unstuck was to add things but now, I see that sometimes what I need most is to quit.