LOFB - NoaOne of the hardest parts of life is knowing when to quit. Knowing when to give up. Knowing when to look at something and think, “well, fuck this straight in the workload.”

I’m a serial quitter. I will quit anything that is not benefitting me and will not do so in the future. I have just enough perseverance to get through hard times, but a hell of a lot of quit when I see I’m getting fucked over.

I had a great paying job with AT&T, but a few months after they cut my commission and doubled my quotes, I was outtie.

I really liked running martial arts schools, but when it started damaging my marriage (we worked together) then I was outtie.

I quit being on the leadership team of FFA because it wasn’t for me, even though I was good at it. I quit track because I hated it, though I was ok at it. I quit basketball, volleyball, kenpo, and several other varied dumb sports because holy fuck I hated them so much and I was so bad at them.

If it’s not benefitting me and I hate it, why keep slogging through forever? Surely my time can be better spent?

The problem in this is that our society sees quitting as a bad thing. Work in a terrible job forever because hey it might pay off. Stay in a marriage that everyone hates because we’ll think it’s weird you’re divorced. Stay, stay, stay and maybe when you’re dead you’ll benefit.

After all, don’t you want to life your life secure?

FUUUUUUUCK THAT.

The best part of life is that we have the choice to do the things we want to do. We have the power to look at our lives and say, “this is not a road I want to keep taking. I will try another.”

Don’t waste your time, your life on things that you hate. Don’t live with the hope that one day it may change despite great odds that it won’t. Don’t give your heart to something or someone who won’t give back.

Need some help? This Freakonomics podcast is a fantastic listen if you have a bit to discuss the mathematics behind why quitting is the best thing you could ever do for yourself.

What did you quit that benefitted you? What do you want to quit?

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LOFB - NoaI have done most of the things I ever thought I would want to do with my life. Which is pretty cool, because I am 27, and the 12-year-old who dreamed big would think that this version of me is pretty cool.

I mean, she’d be pretty upset that I didn’t live in NYC, but 12-year-old Noa didn’t have a fuckin’ clue what living costs were, so she can suck it. Also, 12-year-old Noa? It’s cold as shit there. Did you know that? Fuck you, you judgmental twat.

Okay, off track.

I wanted to write. I’m doing that.

I wanted to act. I’m doing that.

I wanted to be married to a handsome man I loved who is creative and kind and badass. I am doing that. (yeahhhhhhhhhhh)

I wanted a home I loved I felt safe in. I wanted a dog. I wanted a cat. I wanted to go to Japan. I wanted to be happy, to have cool friends, to be appreciated, needed, functional.

I wanted to tell stories. I do that.

I’m far from the end of the line on any of those things. I still have a lot of learning and work to do in all of them. Just because I’ve nicked the boxes doesn’t mean I’m ‘done’ with any of it. I’ve really only just begun in them, but hey, I started, and that is half the battle.

There are two things, though, I haven’t started yet, and I am scared to death of both of them.

I want to be a published novelist.

I have wanted to be a published novelist my entire life. I have a completed manuscript. I stare at it a lot, because I’m so paralyzed with fear about what the process will be from here. What if I get rejected from everyone ever? What if I am, despite what I may feel, not actually good at that? What if it doesn’t work out? What if my dream since I was a child isn’t actually what’s meant for me?

I want (despite what I have said in the past) to be a mother.

I actually think I’d be a pretty decent mother. I think I’m a good person. I think I could provide a good home. I think my husband and I could make some damn good kids. But I am terrified of a lot of things in that respect, each one of them more terrifying to speak of than the last.

Here’s the thing though–being Fearless doesn’t necessarily mean that I have no fears ever at any time, it’s that I learn to conquer them. I know that if I make it to the end of my life without at least trying to be published or trying to be a mother (through whatever means) then I will regret it. These things may not work out for me, they may be brutal and awful and I may be right about all the terrible things.

But if I never take the first step, then that–that is so much worse than this fear I feel right now.

 

But it’s good to be reminded of the classics sometimes, especially by Good Old Robbie Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Dawn LOFB BadgeFor most of my life, I’ve felt like a misfit.  Quite literally, a “mis-fit”, like I just missed out on fitting in, no matter where I was.  My hobbies have generally been a little on the strange side, but my job is quite normal, conservative even.  I’ve kept these aspects of my life so separate that I’ve worn two grooves in my soul, as though I’ve half-walked two roads but fully walked none.

I easily embrace Normal with a kiss on each cheek and a roll of the eyes behind its back.  I have a wonderful husband, we own a house, we have a dog. I have a great relationship with my parents, and I honestly like my job and my company.  I’m pretty thrilled with all that.  However, I do not have children (by choice), and that sets me outside the norm for the majority of women my age.  Most of my pastimes have been hidden from plain view for the protection of Normal, from my time spent dressing as an Elizabethan gentleman and engaging sword fighting, to my indulgence in attending burlesque shows and dressing the part as well.  In spite of these slightly subversive tendencies, I can pull off Normal when I need to.  But after a while it fits me like some other woman’s evening gown, pulling here or gaping there, chafing a bit in private places.

I gingerly embrace Strange with one eye glancing back at Normal to make sure it’s not going anywhere.  It’s always been a part of me, and some of the greatest moments of joy in my life have been brought about by Strange, or at least accompanied by it.  Unfortunately, my need to impose order on everything around me is anathema to Strange.  I treat organizing like it’s an extreme sport, and I’m a strident rules-follower.  What happens to Strange when I try to box it in or bound it by rules?  It withers, or wanders away, or looks at me like I’m crazy.

I cannot give up either. I cannot fully commit to either.

I’m too strange to be normal, too normal to be strange.

I’ve walked my own path(s) and resisted bowing to expectations, and I’m proud of that.  But this split has cost me.  For years, I was afraid to tell coworkers and other more Normal people about my hobbies for fear that I wouldn’t be accepted.  What happened is that I kept these people at arm’s length, never letting them see Strange, only showing them Normal.  When I meet people who connect to Strange, it seems that Normal creates a barrier between us.  I find that I have a few close friends, plus many people I say a passing “hi, howzit?” to on a regular basis, and…??  I’m the type of person who thrives in groups where I can connect to people, have intelligent discourse, be creative.  But when I’m truly my whole self with people, I feel like they pull back, recoiling at some part of me.  I cherish those whom I can bond with fully, but I want more.  Where are “my people”?  Am I somehow the problem?  Are there others out there who walk these different paths and feel at home in none?  Are you one of them?

LOFB - NoaOne of my favorite theories about the universe is that it is most likely just one in an infinite number of universes, all displaying each choice in a different timeline. Essentially, there is a version of you in every single universe, making every possible choice you could have made.

I wish I could see these universes. These alternate versions of myself. I wish I could see what my life would have been if I had never left Colorado–what would I be today? How different? What if I didn’t get my shit together in Lubbock? What if I actually got the degree I originally started College for–Elementary Education? To be fair, I know the answer to that last one–I would have been fired. Quickly. In all universes in which I am a caretaker of children.

I am kind of a dick. Don’t let me teach your kids.

But the idea of The Road Not Taken is about more than just the positive changes you made, more than the what-ifs of your life. The road not taken is also about what you chose not to do, what others chose for you. About your overcoming difficulties, about if they had never happened at all. It’s about looking down the road map at your feet and being able to see if you’re on the right path. If you need to turn. If that little side-trip is worth it for a while.

This month, we’re gonna take a fuckin’ road trip, because that is what fuckin’ bitches do in the summertime. We find our girls, we get in a car, we sing too loudly to bad music, and we talk.

Let me hear it. What are your roads not taken?

Particularly inspired? Want to share with The League? Let me know!