Quitting is no longer a dirty word

The act of quitting was always discouraged as I was growing up.

If you start something, you see it through to fruition. When you start a sport, you continue it for the entire season. I attributed the act of quitting to a character weakness. You didn’t want to be the person who quit their job every six months. You didn’t want to be the one who kept quitting one hobby after another, purchasing the gear for each activity, which became simply wasteful junk in the closet.

I grew up thinking that the word “quit” should not be in my vocabulary. I grew up always viewing my ultimate strength as being genuinely committed and dedicated.  I did not quit. I was committed and dedicated to every sport, choir, theatre production, job and friendship I was a part of.

However, there have been several key moments in my life that were punctuated by quitting.

Once you are ready to make the decision to end something you finally see it is time to give yourself the gift of freedom. To earn your own freedom you have to cut all the puppet-strings.  The time came for me to find my own freedom.   I had to quit my job because I had to go back to my original dream. I have always wanted to be a writer. I am not sure when I talked myself into becoming a teacher.  I suppose halfway through college it crossed my mind.

After graduation I felt such disappointment and failure; after job searching all over central Ohio I discovered that all a four-year bachelor’s degree in English qualified me for was to be a pre-school teacher. Once hired, I even started taking night classes to earn a two-year associates degree focused on Early Childhood Education. It was a slap in the face that I was teaching in the pre-school room. I enjoyed it for a while, but I was putting a false smile on my face when I worked long hours teaching literacy to 3 and 4 year olds.  My life was spinning in such a rush. I adapted to become the one that multi-tasked the educational and emotional needs of my students. Being a college student was nothing compared to the responsibility of shaping young minds.  The majority of my colleagues were mothers, but I didn’t have such hands-on experiences. I quit the job because it overwhelmed me and stressed me out beyond control. Needless to say, several weeks where I worked 10-12 hour workdays covering extra shifts were the nail in the coffin in this decision.

Fast-forward to 2014 and I made a similar decision. Teaching high school English for seven years was so rewarding and I really did feel more comfortable in the role every year. But the beginning of year eight it felt more and more that it was not my true purpose. I taught the fall semester, but I knew that I would not be able to finish the year out. Deep contemplation in December 2014 helped me realize that I had to leave the school district. I needed to quit my job as a teacher in order to return to my original life dream. As a very young girl, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I always dreamed of following in the footsteps of the writers whose books I enjoyed.

So, I have quit teaching.

But maybe someday I will teach again, in a different way.

It is always a possibility that I would choose to teach.

I have quit, but it is only follow my true purpose. I am a writer: unpaid, fledgling, emerging writer. Someday very soon I will be more.  For now I can sleep at night because I have found part-time meaningful employment 25 hours a week.  As a teacher I consistently worked well beyond 50 hour weeks.  I may have quit the salary, benefits, and pension that would cause many people to stay in the teaching profession until they retire. But I don’t care about fancy things, so I can adapt to living on a fraction of my previous salary.

If it gives me more free time to write, then it is God’s will.

Leaving teaching helped me earn freedom that I have only known the summer before my senior year at college when I chose to not have a summer job so that I could write. Other than the summers of 2001 and 2015, I have always been some combination of student and worker bee.

The realization had to come through teaching.  I can only explain it in that while I was teaching the students to follow their dreams I realized I had to take my own advice. Teaching reminded me to follow my true purpose:  writing my story.


I am constantly reminded of my blessings as I move into my new apartment.  I have a lot of things I was given as a gift for a special occasion, and I have a lot of things that came to me as a surprise and I loved just the same.  As I unpack I remember not only the time that I acquired the possession, but who gave it to me.  And unfortunately, some of the people who have passed on are the one who have passed on their belongings to me.

I just took the obligatory Thanksgiving Day nap.  This year I did have some turkey, so maybe it was the tryptophan, but I had a strange dream.   The very bed frame that I was just snoozing upon used to be at my paternal grandparents’ house.   The artwork I finally mounted to the wall in my new family room was my maternal family’s heirloom art.  It has always been in the front room of every one of my apartments.

In my dream I was in the same room with both of my grandmothers.  They each were sitting, the room was dimly lit, and I was there enjoying their company.  I turned to talk to my maternal grandmother and I said “I wish we had more time.”  True to her character, she smiled and nodded, showing off her infectious smile and the twinkle in her eyes behind thick glasses.  She said “We will.”  I was crying in the dream.  I leaned in to hug her, but it was as if she had already vanished.  Definitely, as I awakened I felt that I experienced a real “Our Town” moment.

I am grateful for all of my relatives, past and present.  There are too many names to list them all.  This year I am especially grateful for every person in my life that has supported me in my quests for love, health, education, and the continual pursuit of my writing goals.  Both of my grandmothers supported me best emotionally.  I am grateful that I did have time with each of them.  Just as my parents do, my grandmothers loved me unconditionally, and they truly understood me.

I am grateful for every memory that I have of my relatives.  The grandparents, aunts and uncles who are no longer here have left a lasting impact on my life.  The best presents I ever received for Christmas didn’t come in wrapping paper.  They all gave freely of their laughter, their hugs, their comedic wit, their stories of Christmases past, and their cooking.  They gave me love through our family gatherings.

I am grateful for the family gathering I attended today at my sister-in-law’s childhood home.

Family means feeling at home.  At my new place, I am feeling at home; I am hanging nails at the wall, and next spring I might even plant flowers in the dirt.

Family means roots that go back generations.  The angels who have left our company keep influencing the family story.