Anneka, 10th - Vancouver, Canada
From a young age, we are taught that quitting is wrong. It is the last resort, a sign of failure, and the phenomenon that drives the demise of success and profit.
Our parents tell us that we have to make it through the year. They tell us that we must keep going, even if we don’t want to. They tell us that you can’t run from things, you must stick them out. This is how we learn about perseverance. I am not against perseverance.
But, simultaneously, it teaches us that wanting to step back is not okay. That we must stay through uncomfortable situations. We must linger in the space that doesn’t speak to our soul, and linger in the space that feels suffocating.
I stuck through many chapters of my life that did not uplift me, but rather dragged me down. At the time, I believed that quitting was weak. I saw it as an escape. Quitting was never an option. I was not a failure.
What I didn’t know, however, was that I was putting my mind and body through stress. It ate away at me until I was sad and tired. Still, I brushed off a thought that seemed to hang around above my head like a heavy grey rain cloud. It would whisper things to me in an urgent voice. I would wave them away. I put up an umbrella.
And then, all at once, it became too heavy. The sky opened up and the rain fell down, soaking me. It swept me off my feet. I was racked with guilt and disappointment. I was lingering in a space that didn’t speak to my soul, and it was too much.
I believed that prosperity and happiness only came to those who worked and worked and never gave up. But I was blind to the fact that I had proven that wrong, all by myself. All that never giving up had given me was sadness and shame.
I have then since grown up and changed the way that I think about quitting. It no longer has a negative connotation. I give myself the option to step back from something if I feel it does not align with my path.
Quitting, to me, is the equivalent of growing.
Like a flower, we are always expanding upwards and outwards. Flowers tilt towards the sunshine. They grow towards the elements that nourish them. Their petals wilt and eventually drop, and leaves wither up until they are but a shriveled piece of what they once were. I imagine myself as a flower. I am blossoming, blooming, flowering. I drop leaves and petals that no longer serve me. I am not afraid to grow new limbs.
Quitting is an act of strength. It takes strength to let go of the normalcy and routine. It takes strength to allow yourself to grow onwards and upwards; to drop a petal.
Quitting is an act of courage. It takes courage to defy what our parents tell us. It takes courage to defy what society tells us. It takes courage to diverge and to take a different path than others.
Quitting is an act of liberation. When you let go, you release negativity. The raincloud dissipates. You are free from the weight on your shoulders. You are no longer suffocating. You may grow new petals and leaves.
Quitting is an act of opening up doors. New opportunities will present themselves to you, and you may pounce on them with renewed energy and vibrance.
Quitting is an act of mindfulness. You have learned that this chapter of your life must come to end. You have taken what you need from it. Value it.
And I hope, dear Reader, that you feel courageous enough to let go. I hope that you feel strong enough to quit. I hope that you trust your intuition. I hope that you blossom.
Students 6th-12th Grades