I am a really good starter of things. I start diets. I start projects. I start exercising. I start friendships. I start eating healthy. I start laundry. I have good intentions. Really, I do. But there a lot of things that I just don’t finish. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, even when I was little. When I was in grade school I started gymnastics, piano lessons, Girl Scouts. And I didn’t stick with any of them. As I got older I joined clubs in high school, I started college, I forged new friendships, I started therapy. And I didn’t stick with any of them.
One of my biggest regrets is not finishing college. I was a good student all the way through high school, and I was awarded a full academic scholarship to the local university. I went one semester. ONE. Then I quit and went to work. During the next several years I went back to school from time to time, but I never did finish. As the semester would end, or as I would finish a class, I would just kind of give up. Nothing horrible happened, I still had good grades, I just didn’t want to go anymore. So I didn’t.
I’m not exactly sure why I am not a good finisher of things. Is it because my parents never made me finish anything that I didn’t like? Is it because when the novelty of something wears off, I’m just no longer interested? I think that both of those things play a part. But as I think about it, it may have more to do with how I feel about myself than how I feel about whatever it is I’m trying to finish.
For as long as I can remember I have struggled with self-acceptance and self-worth. I am only now learning, at almost 42 years old, that I do have some good qualities. I am better able to speak the truth to myself about me, rather than feeding the narrative that I heard (or maybe even created) growing up. I know that I am smart, not just lucky, as I was told by my mother as a child. I know that I am not horribly ugly like I thought for most of my youth because everyone oohed and aahed over my sister’s beauty, but not mine. I know that I have a truly good heart, despite the fact that my family doesn’t find me loveable. I guess what I am getting at, is that, by telling myself the truth, I have begun to like who I am. Love may be on it’s way, but it’s not here quite yet.
So what does all of that have to do with me being a quitter? Well, I think that I haven’t ever really felt that I was worthy of accomplishment. I didn’t deserve to be a college graduate, I didn’t deserve to have friends that love me for me, I didn’t deserve to look fit and be healthy physically. I wasn’t worth it. At least, I didn’t think I was worth it.
Now that I have been in recovery for over two years, and I have really examined the parts of my life that I tried to avoid for so long, I have had to take a long, hard look at myself. What I have found is that I am worthy of those things. I am worthy of being happy and healthy, I am worthy of being accomplished. And I’m capable. I can do it. Without quitting. All the way to the finish.
PS-I have started a class, Contemporary Literature, and I will finish it. I have started C25K, and I will be able to run a 5K. More details to come….
12 thoughts on “On quitting quitting…”
I totally get this! I always did just enough to prove that I could but I didn’t want the pressure that came along with actually achieving something. Then people might expect something of me. But if I could show I had it in me, then my outsides would be acceptable enough. I always called myself an over-achieving under-achiever. I agree that it’s tied to self worth. I still have trouble stepping out of my comfort zone because I’m afraid to expect too much of myself. I’m getting better though!
Thanks for the comment, Karen. I think I’m getting better too, but it’s still a struggle. An over-achieving under-achiever…I like that. It fits me too. 🙂
JAMI!!! Yay to class and to c25k! That’s wonderful!
I’ve been very much the same way my life. I used to call it flighty, or easily bored. Now, especially after finishing that marathon after last year and following months of dedicated training, I know the pride that comes with sticking to something and seeing it through. Dare I say even marriage is like that? I used to cut and run at the first signs of distress. Now I stubbornly see it through.
You deserve every happiness, Jami, and I’m so glad to see you believe that too.
Thank you, Christy. I am actually loving the C25K, which is very surprising! It started off easy enough that I can handle it without feeling like I’m going to die. 😉 It’s really nice to feel like I am doing something that is good for me, even though I get a splitting headache after each workout. I drink plenty of water, so I’m not sure why it’s happening. Any ideas?
I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
Hi Jami, I’m not totally sure about the headaches. I get them occasionally too.
Most likely it is either a surge of something going in, or a surge of something going out.
In, like maybe adrenaline from the exercise, or even increased blood flow into the brain and head. Do you get red-faced when you run? That could balance out in time as your body gets stronger and more efficient at pumping blood during aerobic activity.
May also be a decline of blood sugar, especially if you are not eating enough or correctly. Sometimes we try to tackle too much, like weight AND fitness and we may go overboard in our desire for instant results. So just make sure you’re eating enough too. Maybe drink a Gatorade right before you work out?
But yes, please, I’d love you to keep me posted. I haven’t been the best email buddy lately, but you can always write or give me grief, lol. Oh and you know there are c25k support- forums too? Links at c25k.com I’m pretty sure.
Have a great weekend, keep up the hard work! C
Thanks, Christy. The workout is going well, the running intervals are getting longer and I’m able to keep up. The headaches still come on, but I’ve been taking ibuprofen before I start and that’s helped. I am having some knee pain, and I’m not sure if I should be just pushing through it, but that’s what I’m doing. I’ve never stuck to any kind of running, and I don’t want to give up!
Thank you so much for your encouragement! It sure does help. 🙂
I can really relate to this! I have probably a dozen unfinished projects in my house as I type, and if I had a nickel for every time I’ve started a diet, well, I’d be sitting on a mountain of nickels right now. Can’t wait to hear more about your class and exercise program!
Thanks! I’m really loving both the class and the exercise. It feels good to be doing things that are good for me, and to be sticking to them.
Urgh. I get this, too. I used to be AWFUL about not sticking to and finishing stuff.
I’m better now, but man. It took years of practice… so I am cheering you on, lady! Stick with it 😉
Thanks! I need cheerleaders! 🙂 These are two small things, the class and the C25K, but I know that the satisfaction that I get from doing them will mean so much to me.
I really appreciate your encouragement!