Quitting Time

What I’ve noticed about people who finish amazing projects? They know how and when to quit the things that don’t lead them where they really want to go.

I used to be an excellent quitter. It started in elementary school, when I realized that spending time at 4-H club memorizing the butcher cuts of beef, pork and lamb was not my idea of a great Wednesday evening. When I told my dad that I wanted to quit 4-H, the disappointed look in his eyes was devastating. Even though I wanted to please him more than anything, and he gave me a compelling speech about the downfalls of being a quitter, I forged ahead to achieve my first major quit. I’d successfully bought myself a few extra hours of reading time each Wednesday, and in my adult life I’ve never actually needed to know the difference between chuck and brisket.

This set the stage for many other confident quitting moments in my life. I quit my pre-med track to major in fine arts instead. I quit the crew team. I quit a lot of questionable relationships (which finally didn’t disappoint my parents). I’ve done a lot of quitting that ultimately opened up time and space in my life for experiences that were more meaningful and fulfilling.

Now that I’ve supposedly grown up and I’m a parent myself, I’m finding it harder to quit. I’ve allowed innocuous habits to infiltrate my life, wasting so many hours on meaningless activities (yeah Facebook, I’m talking about you).

So for this month of working toward focusing on and finishing creative projects, I’m also working to quit a few things. Instead of complaining about my plate being too full, I’m just refusing any more servings. Especially all of those cuts of beef, bleh… I’m even putting a few things back in the buffet line, so that someone who really does love chuck roast can have at it.

What will you quit this month? By quitting, what are you making space for?

2 thoughts on “Quitting Time

  1. I don’t have an answer to your question, but I wanted to second your emotion about the importance of people quitting “things that don’t lead them where they really want to go.” And the example you give with 4-H and memorizing cuts of beef…this image will stay with me! When I find myself spending time on something that I don’t find enjoyable or useful, I will think of your story. I think this post needs to be referenced on my important blog for today. Sorry I don’t have more of an audience to forward your insights to. Building an audience is not a strength of mine, unfortunately. I am a devoted audience member to you, though : )

  2. Good food for thought!
    I am going to quit the shelter magazines. Too much advertising and over the top designs. If I need a color or design fix, I can go on line. (Sorry Elle Decor, Architectural Digest and House Beautiful–I’ve graduated after years of following!!!!)
    I’m also thinking of quitting Facebook. (Sorry, A.D.) I’m still debating that one, since I don’t spend much time on it, and never post. I do like to see what the extended family is up to.
    Advise to myself: Quit trying to run the show, even in small ways. Get out of the way and see what happens.

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