Why It’s Absolutely Okay To Be A Quitter
Quitting gets a bad rap.
Almost three years ago, I retired from roller derby after a serious injury. I struggled with the fact that I had to quit. We’re conditioned to think quitting means we’re a loser, weak, or scared, that it’s always a negative.
The truth is, sometimes it’s time to quit.
I’ve done my fair share of quitting: jobs, hobbies, relationships. It can be painful to stand up and say “Okay, I’m all done here,” but it almost always comes with a rush of relief.
I’m not saying I quit anything at the first inkling of discomfort, but the older I get, the shorter that window gets, where I’ll tolerate feeling bad.
I most certainly quit books. I used to be a reader who never quit, and I know many people like that. I understand the drive to finish a book you’ve invested time in. Trust me, I’ve hung in there through many sucky books thinking “This has to get better” (but it never does.)
Some readers have a rule, giving a book 100 pages, three chapters, or a similar deadline before they quit. I don’t have any guidelines like that. I’m either “feeling it” or I’m not, and whenever the “not feeling it” kicks in, I put the book down.
There are far too many wonderful books waiting for me to spend my valuable time with ones I don’t enjoy. The same goes for people, activities, and meals!
It’s important to note: Putting a book down isn’t always a permanent pass. Often it’s simply not the right time in my life to be encountering that particular book.
I started The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson twice and was terribly bored. Almost a year later, it was a selection for one of my book clubs so I pushed through the slow part and ended up learning a lot and being glad I read it.
I was 90 pages into Outlander by Diana Galbaldon and ready to quit, when I consulted a friend who loves the series. “Keep going,” she pleaded, “It gets better!” About 25 pages later, I texted her to say things were heating up and I was so glad I stuck with it! Now I’m on the third book in the series.
I’ve only ever quit one book club book, which was People of The Book by Geraldine Brooks. I truly gave it my best effort, but I simply didn’t like it. I greatly value my bookish friend’s suggestions so I didn’t want to give up, but I had to, to stay true to myself. She liked that book a lot, and was disappointed I didn’t, but she respected my need to quit.
Having people in my life who support my decisions to quit (a book or a sport) has been a huge factor in my being comfortable doing so.
What are your thoughts on quitting books and why? What’s a book you’ve quit or wish you had?