Quitting time – times 5! (Weekend Assignment #289)

Weekend Assignment #289: Sooner or later, we all quit something that was once important to us: a job, school, a club, an addiction, a relationship, and probably other things I haven’t thought of. Tell us about something you quit, and why you did so.

Extra Credit: Did you ever regret your decision?

Don’t call me a quitter; I don’t call myself one. Having said that, I’ve done my share of quitting at one thing or another.

There have been times when bailing on something was the right decision – sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on, but sometimes it’s felt good and sometimes it hasn’t. There have also been times when I didn’t do that soon enough – I hung on longer than I should have, trying to fix something broken, only to give up the effort much further down the line. And regrets? Oh, I’ve certainly had more than a few…

I quit my first job out of college after three years, and should have done it at least a year earlier – that’s a case where I regret holding out more than I do leaving. But it’s hard for me to let go of things sometimes, and I felt the need to undo a lot of mistakes. Most of them probably didn’t matter in the long run, and I did learn from the experience; it certainly contributed to some growing up that I needed to do. But if going to work makes you feel frightened and physically sick on an almost daily basis, you and your job – the work environment, if not the work itself – are probably not well-matched.

I am well aware that by some people’s standards, I ultimately quit my first marriage…and to be honest, part of me agrees with them. But another part of me knows that they weren’t there, and they don’t know everything from the inside. There are things I would do differently if I were back there now, but for the most part, I doubt that the person I was then could have tried much harder than I did…and I think that applies to my ex-husband as well. Part of me will always regret that we couldn’t reconcile things. However, a larger part of me doesn’t regret the necessary learning experiences during my single years after the divorce – and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and in a second marriage where we’re much better matched for one another! (And neither would my ex-husband, who re-married before I did.)

Ending my first marriage did lead to the decision to quit a city that still feels like home, and that required me to quit the best job I’ve ever had. I wish both of those things hadn’t been necessary, and I still miss them. Still, seven years later, I remain certain that literally moving on – eighteen hundred miles west – was essential for my future growth, and I don’t regret that at all.

In another Weekend Assignment a few weeks ago, I talked about quitting Weight Watchers meetings. I still don’t really regret that in itself, but I certainly do regret the consequences! But I’m slowly making progress in improving my eating and exercise habits, and getting my body back to a place where I like it better.

I haven’t decided on this for certain, but I’m considering quitting coloring my hair. I wouldn’t mind saving both the money and time involved, but I have an appointment with my stylist today, and I’ll talk to her about it. Chances are that I might regret that decision a lot…or not. Sometimes it’s clear right away that quitting something is a good move, and sometimes it’s hard to know for certain until after you see how it turns out.

Something major, something minor, something smart, something dumb – what’s something that you’ve quit, and how do you feel about it?

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  1. What springs to mind after reading your post is quitting jobs, specially one job which I quit at exactly the right time. I was then talked into getting back there after having been unemployed and POOR for some months, said yes in a weak moment even though there was another job I wanted, and was called on my phone literally minutes after saying yes from the better job if I wanted a job there…and then I quit the one I was talked into 😉

    I seem to have quit some friendships over the years, although they mave sort of have caved in on themselves along the way without me really deciding to QUIT. Some of the I regret, some I haven't looked back once.


  2. I quit drinking coming up on 10 years ago, and I don't regret that for a single second. It contributed to the ending of my marriage, and I am grateful for that as well. I liked what you had to say about how other people might say you quit your first marriage, but that they weren't there-and I agree. My FIRST ex-husbamd and I both quit, and while it would have been different had we known more (who the heck gets married at 19? And then gets pregnant? YIKES!), I think we are both far happier now than we would have been with one another.

  3. I quit trying so hard in the classes I teach as an adjunct. The students give me better evaluations when the class is easier. Sad, but true.

  4. I had a job that made me ill, too. I'd drive past it on my days off and a feeling of dread would wash over me. It was bad.

    Everything seems to work out for you, so that's good!

  5. Louise – It sounds like you dodged a bullet there. Going back to a job you were glad to leave doesn't usually turn out for the best.

    I know what you mean about friendships, unfortunately. There are very few I've deliberately cut off, but too many have just withered away.

    Kori – I got pregnant, and THEN married, at 19 :-). Some might say it was impressive that we got over 15 pretty good years out of that.

    It sounds like your choices to move on from things have mostly been changes for the better.

    Jeanne – I can see your point – and yes, it is kind of sad. But it does give you a little less work!

    Mike – Yeah, that is not a good situation. I used to be in a funk most of Sunday, knowing I had to go back there on Monday.

    Eventually, most things have worked out, but the process of getting there hasn't always been too enjoyable.

  6. I've quit lots of jobs I hated, and don't regret it one bit! I'm considering quitting coloring my hair, too. But I'm so darned gray underneath, I'm afraid I'll just look old. So not fair that men with gray hair look distinguished and women just look old. Let me know what your stylist advises!

  7. Tracy (Gentle Reader) – I'll have to let you know next time; I chickened out of asking her about it. Maybe next year (which will be the appointment after next). There's probably some way to transition back to natural color – whatever that is :-). My husband's never seen it, but he's on the record as being in favor of my going that way regardless.

  8. Sometimes quitting is the right thing to do, knowing when to move on. I have never really thought about it as quitting until now, but the first thing that came to mind as I read your post in terms of my own experiences has to do with my job. I always think of it more as making the wrong choice rather than quitting. I accepted a position at work that wasn't right for me–or maybe I just wasn't ready for it. I tried to make it work but I was miserable. I finally made the decision to move on. I suppose some would say it isn't quitting because I am still with the same agency, but in reality, I did quit that particular position. It was the best decision I ever made.

    As for hair, I haven't colored my hair in several months now and the gray is definitely visible. My friends say it's barely noticeable, but they're just being kind. I've dyed my hair natural for the last year or so with the intent of letting it grow out on its own. It's that gray that bothers me though.

  9. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I'm thinking about easing back to my natural color, whatever it is at this point. I have no idea how much gray I really have! And at some point this color won't look natural any more.

    I've had similar work experience – not where I've actually quit a position with the same employer, but where I've accepted responsibilities that I really couldn't handle, and it wasn't a good call. You made the right move to step down in those circumstances, I'd say.