Are you a quitter?
Is that a loaded question to you?
How about this one: are you capable of being a quitter?
I have been rolling this topic around of late, and I have come to the conclusion that quitting is sometimes perfectly fine, even recommended.
But let’s not talk about people for a moment; let’s talk cheetahs. Yup, cheetahs. What happens if Momma Cheetah gives up on her cubs? That decision wouldn’t bode well for the species, now would it? What about if Momma Cheetah needs to feed those cubs, and takes off pell-mell after the strongest gazelle in the herd she’s tracking? I’d say that wouldn’t fill many bellies, would you? Much better to turn her attention to the one lagging behind the herd. This is my point, in a nutshell. Momma Cheetah has to know when and where to expend her energy, and where to save her strength. I am trying to channel this fundamental principle in my life: know when to hit the gas and when to hit the brakes.
I am a full-time single parent to a delightful, smart, headstrong 8-year-old who I homeschool. I work, do all the upkeep associated with owning a home on an acre of land, plus handle the daily chores that come with having a family. I always have too many irons in the fire – right now I am working on the website redesign, the spring 90-day planner, the next book in the Little Green Hill series, along with its accompanying packet, and the mouse badges for the characters in the stories. I’ve been trying to start up a local reading group, spend more quality time adventuring with the little one, and slowly sift my way through personal books and interests. Quite frankly, I generally feel about a step or two from exhausted burn-out, and the side to which I am standing from that line varies.
I have come to respect the idea of energy conservation. Much like the cheetah in hot pursuit of her quarry, I want the biggest return on my investment of resources. To that end, I am beginning a list of some criteria for when it is wisest to quit and turn my attention elsewhere:
- If something is interfering with my mental wellbeing.
- If something is detracting from my family time.
- If it’s a gazelle I’m never really going to be able to catch.
- If it’s not something my heart is truly behind.
- If I’m trying to work against my personality and/or skill set.
This New Year’s, I decided to make my word for 2023 time. I wrote this as my resolution:
“I felt this year I was constantly playing catch-up, always running behind, always in a hurry, not enough time to relax enough to smell the roses, which is against everything I aim for in life. I felt all year I didn’t have my stamina for activities and life-y stuff back yet here post-pandemic. I am also feeling the tick-tock of the clock. At eight, the little one is seeming so grown up, and our years of close-together time are counting down.
My goal this year is to manage my time far better. I want to:
– Make special, quality time at home a top priority, with lots of fun and adventure and memories made.
– Make time to explore my own endeavors
– Balance my days better; go to bed earlier, get up earlier, schedule better.
– Dump things that aren’t worth the time.
– Keep up on the little things better.”
I was someone who long prided themself on an ability to persevere, push through, carry the world on my shoulders. But my aging self is getting continually wiser, and I’m now asking myself, “Umm… why?” Why did I value myself for that when I could have been valuing an ability to make wise choices of when to give and when to let go. I could have been valuing balance and happiness rather than needless, crazy-making heroics. Well, you know what? It’s never too late, and I’m finding a delicious sort of freedom in being a quitter. Don’t get me wrong though… I do think it is important to see things through, as well. It’s about priorities, and my top one is of course my own little cub. What are yours? Are you finding your balance? Do you know how to quit when you need to?
Be kind to yourself!