“I quit.” The most sadly underrated act. I hope to give new life to quitting.
There is nothing wrong with quitting. Sadly, quitting is taboo. It is an unpopular word in the english lexicon. We place quitting in the same category as we place whores and junkies. It stinks of defeat to quit. It’s shameful and the quitter is relegated to the corners of failure.
Quitting mine as well be illegal. It just isn’t allowed. The only thing worse than quitting is admitting that you are a quitter.
This is tragic because quitting is actually a virtue. It is an act that can potentially liberate a person from the things that keep them confined. Who would want to stay with anything for too long? We all know that staying with anything for too long is the number one way to become miserable. Often times couple’s therapy is simply an ineffective intervention for the misery that is innate in staying together for too long. Often times couple’s therapy would be of best use to people if it focused more on helping people to quit each other.
There is so much to experience in this life. Why would a person want to limit themselves to the same things? Humans need change like we need water. But we are encouraged to do the opposite in our culture. Capitalism requires us to stick with things by causing us to fear not maintaining what we have. We have been frightened into not quitting by being allowed to consume everything. “Just stick with it,” “Don’t be a quitter,” “Think twice before quitting.” All moral messages continually spoon fed into our willing ears.
We are such fools for popular vernaculars and ideologies. Understandably so. Who wants to stand out from the norm? Who wants to put themselves at risk of potentially losing everything? I’m not sure I do.
The struggle to liberate oneself from conformity and the status quo is a noble struggle.
Quitting is an act of liberation. An act of courage. Quitting builds character and allows a person to invent new possibilities. Quitting is an act of release and revolution against stuckness. Stuckness is the American way. Quitting is freedom in its purist form.
The greatest art has always been made by quitters. If an artist is stuck in his or her own life then their art will also be stuck. Stuck art is bad art. An expression of the banality that the artist is stuck in. Most popular artists are popular because the masses can relate to the stuckness they express.
Quitting sets a person free. It allows them to feel space, which is the main needed ingredient for any kind of creative act or act of clarity. Humans need space around us like a bird needs sky.
Quitting liberates creativity and everything else that is good in life. Not quitting but continuing on with something for too long creates misery. In American culture misery has become the norm and people are continually trying to find ways to escape this fundamental state. Personal growth, psychotherapy even yoga in its current form are all efforts to free oneself from the misery caused by not quitting. But if a person refuses to quit things, all efforts to heal are futile.
I have quit many things in my life. I quit a successful job as a high school teacher. I quit working towards becoming a professor of English Literature. I quit the process of becoming a medical doctor. I quit jobs working as a waiter and bartender. I quit people and drinking. I quite smoking. I quit a marriage and many relationships. After ten years I quit being a psychotherapist. I think I am decent at quitting and am a better man for it.
I often ask myself, “What am I holding on to now that I really need to quit?” “What is it that is making me miserable now and if I quit it I know I will be less stuck?” These are very important questions to ask. Questions that have the ability to move a person into an entirely new dimension of their life. A place they can’t even imagine, if they don’t quit.