June 24, 2021

The Power of Quitting

Nobody likes a quitter. 

We're expected to stick with whatever life hands us, no matter how much it sucks.

People quote Winston Churchill saying, "If you're going through hell, keep going" like some kind of encouragement. 

Not me. I'll be a quitter till the day I die. 

I quit my abusive family and let somebody else's family love me instead. 

I quit a job where I made a lot of money but was being sexually harassed. 

I quit NYC after giving it more than its fair shake. 

I bailed on the way to the Burro Schmidt Tunnel in the Mojave Desert last weekend because I was short on gas and water in too much heat; and I was fairly certain I was on an ATV-only road. 

I was not going to get a car stuck on an ATV trail a second time

Today, I showed up for my lap swim reservation at the Santa Monica Swim Center and immediately turned back around when I saw the two athletic, speed-swimming guys I'd be sharing Lane 17 with. 

I asked the front desk if I could switch lanes, because I knew those guys would hate sharing with a slow swimmer like me. And I wasn't about to try to make it work with them. 

I relocated to Lane 5, where I lasted maybe 5 minutes, certainly less than 10, with two other swimmers who were closer to my speed. But I really hate swimming with more than two people per lane, when you swim in a circle and feel like you're being chased by a shark. 

So I made the strategic decision to abort mission and bellyflopped onto the swim deck. 

One of my fellow swimmers called out that I still had plenty of time left, and I responded, "Three people per lane just isn't fun for me."

"I thought we worked it out pretty well," she said, and I wondered if she was offended. 

"It's just not fun," I said as I toweled off. "It's not fun."

And for me, swimming is fun. It should be fun. I love being in the water. But not like that. 

I was prepared to walk my wet self out of there early and in defeat—but then the lifeguard called down to me from her perch, saying that the gentleman in Lane 14 had just left and there was an empty spot. 

If I hadn't quit both Lanes 17 and 5, I wouldn't have gotten Lane 14 all to myself. And for those last 20 minutes or so, it was glorious. 

Other people can "hang in there" if they want to. It's not for me. 

I've suffered enough. I'm exhausted.

I don't see the point of sticking with something that's just making me miserable. 

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  1. Oh man, I'm in the process of 'quitting' something myself and this absolutely resonates with me right now. Sometimes 'quitting' is the best decision you can make for your own mental health.