Hector Taking Leave of His Family – Lucy C. Huntington – The Met

I did something yesterday that I rarely do. I quit something. Two things actually, two tiny side projects I was working on. 

I struggle with quitting. I stay in relationships for too long. Stay at jobs long past when I should. Once I start a book, I always finish it no matter how much I hate it and how long it takes. (Looking at you, Middlemarch.) Once I start something, I have difficulty not continuing it for all of eternity. 

This approach is obviously unsustainable. I constantly accumulate projects, ideas, hobbies and they all exist in perpetuity, sitting on my to-do list in limbo. 

Not quitting things keeps me from trying new things, because I have too many other things to do and so I have no time for anything new. Also, once I start, I have to finish it so I spend way too much energy debating if I should start something at all. 

I’m not sure how I ended up like this. What part of my personality sends me into a panic attack at the idea of just not continuing something I don’t want to and am not obligated to do anymore. Deep-seated need to feel busy? Fear of being seen as someone unreliable? Too many motivation posters in my middle school hallways? 

Corona has shown me how little pleasure I get out of things like having a super full social schedule, joining lots of groups and activities, and having a busy to-do list. I thought being locked in the house for months would be terrible for my mental health. Instead, I felt better than I had in years, staring at an empty calendar and a mostly empty to-do list. 

Now that I can’t hide behind the global pandemic, I have to figure out how to quit stuff on my own. And so far, it’s been fine. Those little projects weren’t that important after all.