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Does the Act of Quitting Make Us Quitters?

When did the act of quitting gain such a negative connotation? Think about it. We’re often praised when we quit smoking, drinking, or eating carbs. I haven’t done that, of course. I had a small (yes, large) pizza for lunch, and I chased it with a box of Ding Dongs.

You’re nasty! I’m talking about the Hostess kind. Well . . . What can I say? Another new year, but I’m the same hot mess. And you’re welcome, by the way!

You know what I mean, right? Being called a “quitter” is rarely considered a compliment. Perhaps it should be, though. Maybe a little more approval for quitting a job, toxic relationship, or unfulfilling crush is not only necessary, but even appropriate to help verify that we’ve made the right — albeit, difficult — decision.

Unfortunately, there are things in life we don’t want to do, but have to. For example, we have to co-exist in this city with children. We have to accept that Kim Kardashian has her own television show (though, we definitely don’t have to watch it). And, to add insult to injury — for me, anyway, — we have to live in a world where people like Snooki and Pam Anderson “write” best-selling novels. Or, write books that people actually buy.

Side note: You know who you are, and you should be ashamed of yourself!

That being said, when or where do we draw the line? Specifically, how do we know when it’s okay to quit something? Whether it be  a reality star, a significant other that family and friends just happen to love, or a career that no longer makes us smile. And, more importantly, praised quitting versus disgraced quitting: What’s the difference?

Being in my mid-twenties, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to quit many different things in life — and I have! From sports and jobs, to friendships and Grey’s Anatomy, I often don’t have trouble walking away from any sort of activity that no longer fulfills me. Ironically, on the flip side, I do struggle when it comes time to quitting certain other things . . . like Sour Patch Kids, boys who have zero interest in me, and Britney Spears.

And, like with anything in life, the consequences have followed.

I remember quitting my first year of t-ball before the season ended. The team eventually went on to win the championship, and every player got a trophy — except me, of course. I’d been dubbed “the quitter.” Years later, I refused to quit Ms. Spears. As a result, I still have her shitty eighth studio album taking up space on my iPod. And yes, I still have an iPod.

Quitting can definitely have its rewards, though.

When I moved to San Diego, one of my first jobs was working as a host at Joe’s Crab Shack. What seemed like a fun, easy way to make money on the outside, was merely a disguise for a not so great opportunity to prove that I didn’t belong in the restaurant industry.

For starters, I had to take a menu test, which I failed — twice. I didn’t even study in college, like I was really going to try and learn the different types of crab for $9.50 an hour. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure that test was rigged. After all, isn’t the main ingredient in calamari . . . umm, calamari? I thought so.

But even more humiliating, was the fact that the required uniform for the job was a tie dyed shirt. No one looks good in tie dyed. No one. I said, “No fuckin’ thanks” to Joe’s Crab Shack after three short weeks. However, as a result of my failed attempt to work with the public (which is downright brutal), I do have newfound respect for anyone who can hack it in the food industry.

Interestingly enough, after I left Joe, his crabs, and the shitty shack behind, I was able to land my first paid writing gig. It wasn’t a dream job by any stretch, but it was definitely a start. I’d wanted to be a writer since middle school, and finally, I was getting the chance to earn money by writing instead of hooking   . . . I mean waiting tables. And while it wasn’t fiction writing, it was still writing.

It’s like my best friend always says, “You asked the universe for something, and the universe gave it to you. You must not have been specific enough.”

Ugh! I really hate when that bitch is right, because she’s always right . . . about everything!

But, maybe it’s true. Maybe I did get what I asked for. Though, that being said, I think it’s perfectly all right to A) Change your mind B) Reject things you don’t ask for or want, but still get, and C) Quit.

I don’t believe the act of quitting can simply be defined as “good” or “bad.” There’s a gray area. It’s kind of like smoking the pot, or taking a nightcap Xanax: Only you can determine what’s best for you and your needs.

However, being called a “quitter” should not automatically produce a negative reaction. Though there are certainly different types of quitting, sometimes, for sanity purposes, we have no choice but to quit.

We may want — or ask for — the perfect job, boss, relationship, or shoes (I’m still patiently waiting for someone to buy me those Christian Louboutin boots), and if we don’t happen to get it, it’s okay to quit whatever it is we do get in its place.

Every time you do something you don’t like or enjoy, or participate in an activity of some sort that isn’t really you, per se, a piece of you dies. Small, yes, but a piece, nonetheless. How many pieces can we spare before we’re gone . . . before we lose ourselves completely?

Remember: Quitting is not a sign of giving up or giving in, but the opposite, actually. Quitting means you know who you are, you know what you like — you know yourself inside and out, and you refuse to be anything but loyal to yourself. Quitting means you won’t sacrifice your own happiness for anything. And, we all deserve to be happy, and get everything we want. We’re worth it.

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