We’re all quitters.

Society looks down on quitters but sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. When a computer application is being incredibly slow, there’s little else you can do but quit the application by pressing Command-Q (or Control-Alt-Delete for you PC users out there).

Similarly in real life quitting is sometimes simply necessary. I was one of those kids whose parents put them in 10 different activities at once. Seeing that I’m only still involved in two of those 10 activities should tell you that I’m a really big quitter. I’ve quit piano, soccer, ballet, band, painting, club swim and two other activities that I can’t even remember right now.

It’s easy to quit a computer application after repeated bouts of freezing and it’s very easy to never use that application again. I used to heavily rely on Safari until I kept getting the notification “Safari is not responding.” Instead of fulfilling my searches of “why are oceans salty” Safari repeatedly froze and I kept finding myself staring at a spinning wheel (or as we like to call it in newspaper, the spinning beachball of death). Since then I have removed Safari from my Dock and am now a Google Chrome user.

Likewise it’s easy to abandon a hobby and pick up new ones – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Quitting is such a derogatory word when it really shouldn’t be. We all quit sometimes. We quit hobbies, jobs and even relationships in hopes of finding something better.

Yes, it may be true that once you delete an application like Safari you lose all of your saved passwords, default settings and bookmarked pages. But then you start using Chrome and realize that it’s 10 times better.

The same thing goes for real life. I played piano for 8 years without really enjoying it and it probably didn’t help that I was musically tone deaf. While I have certainly lost a lot of that skill, I don’t regret quitting. Just ask my parents: I haven’t touched a piano in four years.

Oftentimes quitting one activity frees up time for other activities. During my sophomore year I found myself swamped with a huge workload and new responsibilities. There was no way I could balance it all with a three-hour club swim practice every day. I tried to do this for the first three months of the school year but it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t focus my efforts on one thing so as a result I began slipping in everything. My swim times were getting slower and slower and I couldn’t devote time to other activities that I cared more about.

So after six years of swimming at the club level, I quit. Once I had opened up that three-hour block of time in my schedule, everything was so much better. No longer was I bound by the commitment to go to practice each day and no longer was I physically and mentally exhausted all the time. I was able to explore so many other things rather than fixate on something I wasn’t getting better at.

It’s just like the fact that you can’t have too many applications open on your computer or else everything becomes super slow. Leaving open the one or two apps that you care most about speeds things up drastically and is more efficient overall.

Now that I’m finishing up high school, I’m still that kid in ten different activities at once, only this time it’s all voluntary. I’m once again finding myself a bit overwhelmed with everything I’m involved in and I question if it’s better to press Command-Q on a few things or wait 10 weeks for the spinning beachball of death to subside.

For now I think I’ll hold on for a little while longer as I prepare to forever leave the high school clubs and activities that I have been a part of for the last four years. Leaving feels like quitting but there’s no choice. It’s like your Mac telling you that “the application has quit unexpectedly” and being forced to press the “ignore” button.

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3 thoughts on “We’re all quitters.

  1. I wrote a similar thing a while ago – I was tired of the negative connotations that quitting had. If you don’t enjoy something (whether it’s a hobby or a career or a relationship) and you’ve given it your best, quitting is how you move on to something that could make you a lot happier. I don’t get it when people would rather stick with it just because. Happiness comes first in my book.

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