I'll just say it: I'm a fan of quitting.

If I don't enjoy a book, I quit reading it.
If I don't like a movie, I quit watching it.
(even when I'm supposed to love it, like Fear + Loathing in Las Vegas)
If I'm frustrated with a knitting project, I quit working on it.
If an idea doesn't keep it's spark, I quit trying to make it work.
And if my work is satisfying and full-of-life and challenging, I quit.

One year ago today was my very last day of working for The Man.

I quit because I wanted to.
I quit because I knew I was ready to work for myself.
I quit because it was time for something new.
I quit because I had for 3 years on weekends and evenings building Blonde Chicken Boutique into something wonderful.

But is that a  good reason to quit?

My dayjob wasn't bad. Compared to the really freakishly horrendous jobs I've had in my life (McDonald's for 2 years! Opening mail for Accounts Payable in a windowless basement office!), it was a cakewalk. Lovely coworkers, a reasonable + kind boss, sometimes challenging work.

I didn't quit because of what the job was.

I quit because of what the job wasn't.

It wasn't exciting. It wasn't challenging me daily. It wasn't…
It wasn't my life.

And I wasn't prepared, at 27, to resign myself to just living my life on the weekends.
I want my life to be lived daily, from 9-5, heck, from 8-11 (yeah, I like to sleep all the other hours).

And so I quit.

In the quitting, I gained a lot.
Sure, the hours are mine.
But so is the responsibility. And the momentum. And the hard.
Hard work, hard stress, hard relationships, hard mistakes, hard decisions.

But all that hard, it reminds me that  I am living.

And that's what quitting gives me: Life. My life.

Hard and complicated.
Peaceful.
Exciting.
Challenging.
Life-giving.

What does quitting give you?

PS. This last year hasn't been easy or glamorous, to ask me what it's really been like, join me in a free Q+A tomorrow. Get the details here.

10 Comments on The Joy in Quitting

  1. madebymegs
    June 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm (9 years ago)

    I love this post. I have quit many things and I am proud of every one of them. I am not working because of an accident and now illness, but I would like to work for myself. You really are an inspiration to many people…if you didn't already know that!!!

  2. Christine (Blisschick) Reed
    July 1, 2010 at 1:11 am (9 years ago)

    I love this post, too, and need to give the concept of Quitting some serious thought… 😉

  3. elizabeth
    July 1, 2010 at 1:50 am (9 years ago)

    Yes, all of that.

    There is definitely hard, but it's my hard.

    That being said, I cannot quit a book, no matter how much I dislike it. I've tried and tried, I just can't not finish.

  4. planetjune
    July 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm (9 years ago)

    This really hit home for me. I have a tendency to feel that quitting is the same as losing, and that I have to battle through to the end of everything I start. There just aren't enough hours in the day for that – especially when you're self-employed!

    Learning to let go of things that aren't working (and to say 'no' to some things in the first place) is hard, especially when I've invested time and effort into it already, but I'm finding it's so liberating once I've made the decision and have that extra precious time to do something better.

    Thanks for writing this post: the 'joy of quitting' is exactly right!

  5. TaraSwiger
    July 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks! Sometimes I don't realize I'm trying to “power through” right away
    and keep on something I should quit, but you're right – there's no time for
    that!
    So glad you found it helpful!

  6. TaraSwiger
    July 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh, you need to practice quitting a book! It's so freeing!
    But only if the book is really dreadful. Or boring. Or lame.

    I officially give you permission!