To Quit or Not to Quit

A few days ago I did a post answering the 20-something question, “What things did 40-something women quit and wish they hadn’t…and what things didn’t they quit and wished they had?” More 40-something women have weighed in. The first response below is from a women who wishes she hadn’t quit journaling the “journey” from 20 to 40 and all that she had learned about herself. Many women say that it’s the act of keeping a journal itself that helps you learn who you are and what you want. That is a common theme of what not to quit — things that help you get to know yourself better. Even if it doesn’t provide monetary or external rewards…the process or the act of doing it is reward enough.

That’s also one of the messages I got  hearing Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed fame last night. She compared writing to a great love affair she’s had since she was 15 years old that has matured and turned into the love of her life. When asked by someone before the success of Eat, Pray, Love (when she was making more money bar-tending than selling books), what she would do if she never got anything out of it, she replied, “Can’t you see what I already have gotten out of it.”

Her message to an aspiring writer, “Write and don’t care if it ever gets published.” That resonated with a comment I shared from a 40-something woman in the last post: “It’s your dream if you enjoy the journey and don’t care about the reward”. People often say follow your dream and the money will follow. Others think that in today’s world that message is creating false optimism in 20-somethings. I think a more apt thought is to follow your dream if you are willing to make money to do it”.  An analogy would be the actor that dreams of being famous vs. loves to act. There comes a reckoning point for many if the point is to “make it”. It’s all how you define what “making it” is. But enough said…here is some more 40:20 hindsight on “quitting”.

“For years I wrote a journal on a nightly basis, and I wish I had continued that practice. It’s so rewarding to go back and read entries now to see how much I’ve grown into myself. With age I’ve become more confident and comfortable in my own skin. In my twenties I spent a lot of time doubting myself — whether I was smart enough or pretty enough — and while I still have some of these concerns (seriously, who doesn’t?), I’ve learned how to focus on being a whole pretty darn good package. I wish I had the same journal entries through my thirties, as my hope is that into my 40s and 50s I’ll see another big stage of personal growth. Shit…if I’m as increasingly happy 10 years from now as I am today vs. 15 years ago…I’ll be in BLISS!!!” — 40-something, New York, NY


I quit studying German or keeping up with it anyway. Now after studying it for 10 years in my teens and 20’s, and even earning a degree in it, I can barely speak or understand it. I wish I’d kept up my skills and knowledge.” — 40-something. Washington DC


I lived with my mother way too long after college thinking it was the best way to pay off some debt before going out on my own. I should have moved out and become financially responsible much sooner! “ — 40-something, Washington DC


I wish I hadn’t quit being an avid music fan (but I’ve got it back in spades now).” – 40-something, Washington, DC


I quit pursuing my professional dream. I didn’t think I was smart enough and didn’t reach out for support. I just listened to my insecurities and convinced myself I couldn’t achieve my dream…didn’t even breath a word of it to those close to me.” – 40-something, Washington, DC


“I wish I had quit blaming my family . Don’t waste time blaming your situation on your family or your upbringing becaust the sooner you own it the sooner you can move on with your own life vs harboring anger or anxiety over your old life.” — 40-something, New York, NY


Quit trying to fix people or spend time thinking people are going to change” — 40-something, New York, NY

on Twitter

on Facebook

on Google+