|A craft item I actually finished... may I present this lavender bag in Irish linen|
Where did this unwritten rule come from that you need to finish everything you ever started or even thought about starting? That you must feel both guilt and resentment at the very thought of not carrying through prior plans.
When you realise you have the option, as a free-thinking adult, of not doing something the pressure is off. And then, the real answer comes. At different times when I’ve decided to quit something, I then either do quit it with real relief and no guilt, or I get a renewed wish to continue and I do so happily. Both are good outcomes.
If we carry something around with us knowing it has to be done but not wanting to do it, the guilt and resentment eats away at us and drains our energy.
Of course some jobs have to be done even if we can’t be bothered, and the only way to deal with those is to do them (finishing up the loose ends of our stocktake at the shop comes to mind), but there are many items on our mental to-do list that can simply be erased without consequence leaving breathing room in its place.
Here are some examples, both big and small:
I love borrowing books from the library. With fiction books I used to feel obligated to finish them and sometimes they would really drag. I decided that if I got to page 100 and the book was still not doing it for me I’d stop. Some books I’ve been twenty pages in and considering quitting, but I’d go to 100 and end up loving it. The one that surprised me most like this was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (good!).
Craft supplies that I’d gathered with a grand plan and then lost interest – giving myself permission to not go through with the project either made me happy to donate them or keen to get going.
Just knowing that you can quit a job if you hate it badly enough sometimes helps you remember that actually it’s not that bad and it pays the bills. It can also help you detach from the dramas there and sometimes gives you a kick in the pants to work harder (I’m a terrible employee I admit it). The thing is, I’ve always worked in jobs that you have to be self-motivated to do boring and repetitive tasks (it was office work) and it was always hard to get myself going. The day I left my last job, after working out my notice and having my leaving lunch, I remember walking through the city just after 5pm feeling like I’d just won Lotto. I felt light as air and almost euphoric.
When I signed up for a boot camp training course some years back, the first several were fun, but then it stopped being fun. It was too hard-core for me and meant we got home from work really late so I decided to stop going. I felt guilt for even considering stopping half way through the course but soon shook that off and knew that gentle exercise was the way to get me moving.
What I’ve learnt most from these examples and many others is that just because you’ve made a decision doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. You are always free to change your mind. Wise words from Richard Bach.