There is something beautiful about perseverance, and working on things until 1. they are finished, 2. your goals are met, 3. your dreams come true. Life is a spectacularly straight line…in the abstract.
However, the real word lacks the simple linearity of fairy tales or movies. Quitting, while not very glamorous, can be quite useful. (And of course quitting can be also be spectacular, dramatic, and satisfying — think: the dumping of the cheating spouse, the quitting of the dehumanizing job, the rebellion against Evil in any of its forms.). But most of the time the desire to quit makes a person feel sorta pitiful.
Yes, I am “a person.” Who has quit a lot of things. Who feels sorta pitiful.
The first half of my life I was a wind-up, go-getting, never-quitting wonder. The more hard work something took, the more it seemed worth my time and effort. Nothing good could be mine, I believed, without significant expenditures of energy.
All that work can make you too tired to enjoy things. Especially when life gets harder and you get older. There’s more to think about than your own goals and dreams. Sometimes very bad things need to be faced.
Exhaustion makes it easier to let things slide. Suddenly, not everything has to be perfect — even less than less than perfect is enough. If you don’t do all the things you think you want to, it’s okay. The world doesn’t end. Most people don’t notice or care. You make a deal between you and yourself and no one knows about it. You keep moving and find other things to do. Fun things. Distracting things. Good and bad things. Sometimes you even forget what you thought you wanted. Because of all the things.
Time passes, you’re better rested, and you think you’ve gained some perspective. Maybe you have an epiphany. Perhaps you grow up a little.
You notice things (all the things!) are amiss. You’ve forgotten what you once wanted to do. You’ve lost your way. You don’t really know where you are, or how you got there. You’ve become a little (you hate to say it, but you take a deep breath) lazy. Complacent. Cowardly.
What’s the answer when you don’t know what the question is?
“Keep moving forward” is my best guess. It seems to apply in so many situations. So it’s the answer I’m sticking with, at least for now.