How I Learned to Love Quitting
There are a million motivational posters and memes that warn against giving up, and look, I get it, perseverance is important! But for me, knowing when to quit is one of the most important skills I’ve developed over the last several years. Giving up can allow you to break habits that are no longer working for you. I saw this most clearly after I stopped drinking in 2016, after many years of unsustainable substance abuse. I hit rock bottom and the decision to quit was the only one that made sense. I didn’t think much about quitting until I got sober, but the experience made me see the value of quitting. My first big quit (drinking) made me comfortable with giving up, and ultimately led me to other important quits (my job) and less significant ones too.
After I quit drinking, I quit wearing makeup because I hated how it felt to have gunk on my face and I quit dressing up nice because being comfortable always feels better than looking good. I stopped eating oysters after admitting to myself I don’t like their sliminess, and lobster too, because even though everyone else is obsessed, I think it tastes kind of bad. (Good texture, though!) I quit smoking weed because I was compulsive about it and being high made me kinda stupid, and I quit smoking cigarettes because it was hurting my lungs. I quit a few of my psychiatric meds because I stopped trusting my psychiatrist and then I quit quitting those meds once I found a new one who I trusted. I quit obsessively reading politics news because it made me feel too hopeless about the world and I quit tweeting all day every day because the reward of retweets and likes wasn’t worth the pain of knowing how many strangers hated me. I quit waiting in line for overpriced and mediocre Brooklyn brunches and I quit getting manicures because it dried out my cuticles too much. The only thing I didn’t quit was the practice of quitting itself, it seemed.
Although I’ve thoroughly integrated quitting into my lifestyle, I occasionally find myself regressing. I was recently reminded of the importance of giving up after I returned home from a road trip after the holiday break. I wanted to get back into my routine of reading a book every night before bed, which had fallen off during my vacation. (Just because I love quitting…