As I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to think about time differently. I’m prioritizing differently and asking different questions. First, simply, I’m asking, “Is this worth my time?” Then I follow with, “Will I get something out of this? Am I enjoying this?” If this answer is “no”, then I’m out. I’m at a point in my life where if something or someone isn’t adding value to my life in some way, then I’m out.
I really began thinking about this when talking with a friend, Mrs. Cook. I told her I was reading a book I wasn’t enjoying that much but didn’t want to stop because I was committed to finishing. She asked, “Why? If you don’t like it move on.” Her simple advice was transformative, freeing. I later learned that she’d been diagnosed with cancer. She passed away. She’d known her fate which I believe shaped her view of the value of time. I’ve kept this in mind ever since I said goodbye to her and recently there are some things I’ve decided to quit.
I quit the gym! Yep, I effing hate it! I’ve been going to the gym (off and on) for about 12 years. But lately, I’ve found it to be time consuming – coming home, changing clothes (because there’s no private dressing area in the gym) finding a parking space, finding a machine (the ones I like near the fan…), coming home, showering and doing my hair, repeat. It just got on my nerves, not to mention that at the end of a long work day I am usually dead tired. And with my recent back and hip injury, I haven’t been able to go much anyway. And I felt guilty every time I didn’t go.
I felt like I was letting myself down and wasting money. It just wasn’t worth feeling badly about myself. So I decided to quit, at least for now. I can rejoin with no fee if I do it in 2 months and there are always January specials. So I may just wait until the beginning of the year to re-visit whether or not I’m a true gym person. I feel free and excited to figure out some at-home workouts. Just because I’m not going to the gym doesn’t mean I can’t be active. I also quit something else and it feels great.
I got invited to participate in a teaching artist institute where participants receive training on varied techniques and best practices. I didn’t know what to expect but assumed I’d learn skills that would enhance my ability to run the writing workshops I’ve been doing and hope to do more of. I was excited and thought it would be a great boon to my resume. I quit in the middle of the first day.
I had to take a day off from work to participate in a day-long training which was held in an old historic landmark. First, the venue wreaked of mildew. I have asthma and could not bear it. Secondly, it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I like structure, overviews, proposed outcomes, agendas… There wasn’t enough of that for me, not to mention that I didn’t connect with the facilitator, at all. I couldn’t put my finger on why but I decided I didn’t need to know exactly why I wasn’t connecting with this experience. I just wasn’t into it, and that feeling is valid. I told one of the administrators that I wasn’t feeling well (which was true) and that I was going to leave. I decided not to go back.
I struggled a little about my decision not to continue the institute and wondered, “Am I just being difficult?” “Am I being arrogant thinking there’s nothing I can learn here?” “Are my expectations too high?” “Will I miss out on potential contacts and connections?” And just as I was in the middle of deciding that it was none of those things, and that I would deal with potential consequences I received the weekly Tiny Buddha email. It was entitled “Trust Your Intuition: If It Feels Like a No, It’s a No”. That was good enough for me. I rode off into the sunset feeling really good about honoring my feelings.
So the next time you’re just not feeling it, know that you can quit. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to quit on the spot. If it’s a job, more than likely you’ll need to have something else lined up. But trust your inner voice that’s telling you when something just isn’t for you. If you need reinforcment, read 5 Valid Reasons to Be a Quitter! Know it’s ok to honor your feelings and say “Deuces!”