Sunday, July 3, 2011

Winners Never Quit? Right.

Hi. My name is Beverly, and I'm a quitter.

Not the worst kind of quitter, not someone who walks away in anger or frustration, not someone who can't commit to my family, just the kind of quitter who looses interest. I seriously L-O-V-E to start new things. It's so exciting to begin some project or undertaking, dreaming of the grandeur to be observed at it's completion. Like the quilt I started when I took a quilting class with my mom... about 8 years ago. I loved picking out the pattern (Ohio star), the fabric (rich purple, dark green, a purple floral on a dark background, all set off with cream and lighter purple), and getting started on learning a skill so culturally important. Generations of women before me (including my own grandmother who is still quilting today) sat around together, quilting covers that would keep their families warm for years and years to come. What a blessing to learn about and be a part of such a heartwarming tradition! So I began piecing my Ohio star quilt, intent to complete the project by hand. (Stupid idea. I involved the sewing machine a short time into it.) Propelled forward by images of this quilt covering my bed and keeping my future husband and children warm for years to come, I worked diligently on my quilt top. I was becoming the wife of noble character.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. (Proverbs 31:21-22)
I was on my game. Amazing. And focused. Until I wasn't. I pulled the still unfinished quilt top out last week and showed it to Cassidy because of something she had brought up. The top is nearly finished. But it just doesn't hold the same interest for me anymore. I quit. Like 8 years ago. And I keep meaning to finish, but there's so much else to do. Like read Twilight again.

My life has a long history of incomplete projects, things I've willingly walked away from just because I didn't want to do it anymore. But as I've matured, I've developed staying power. That balance I talked about a while back guides a lot of my decisions about what to start and what to quit. And honestly, I'm just a lot more cautious about what I actually start. Instead of dwelling on the things I've quit (Weight Watchers, a couple times, tennis - but that's my kids' fault, tanning - probably for the best, a few relationships here and there) I'd like to focus on the things I HAVE committed to. The things that were too important to quit. I'm a teacher by trade, so how about some examples? :-)

Fantastic Things in My Life I Haven't Quit

1. Bunko. But it took my 2 years to start it. I just wouldn't make the commitment. I had beentold going in, "If you start, you're expected to be there regularly unless something seriously legitimate gets in the way." For those of you who are freaking out about that, sick kids and kids' events totally count as legit. Listen, I know my weaknesses, and I was a little freaked out about the "no quitters" policy. So it took me a while to decide to give it a try. And oh, am I glad I did! What a blessing to have a group of friends like those I've found in Bunko! (Another important sidenote: although Bunko is actually the name of a game, in this particular case, Bunko is used to refer to a monthly gathering of ladies at which any number of things - including an actual game of Bunko - may take place.)

2. My husband and children. Duh.

3. My faith and my God. Duh, again.

4. Exercise. So far. I've quit this one a few times before, but for some reason, I have new resolve. Maybe it's because it has become "me time." Maybe it's because I love my Zumba class and lifting weights, and I tolerate the elliptical machine (which I have been know to refer to as the Helliptical). Maybe it's because I joined a gym, and I had never actually tried exercising OUT of the house before. Maybe it's because I like the changes I see in my body and feel in my health and energy level. All I know is I'm willing to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 at least a few days a week so I can be sure to get it in. And secretly, I kind of like being "that guy." The psycho who got up a 4:30 to go to the gym. It makes me feel committed, like this lifestyle is really ME, a part of who I am, and that makes me want to continue. Feel like I NEED to continue. It's been a solid 6 months no, and I have no plans for this to move to the "used to do that" list.

5. Passion about my work. I love what I do, and I love my kids. Teaching is rewarding in a way that just can't be explained. If you're a teacher, you understanding without my having to explain it. If you're not, I could talk all day and it still wouldn't make sense. Because I work with high school students, I don't often see massive change in their personalities (not for the better, anyway). But I do get to make them think. All the time. I get to challenge their stereotypes, their prejudices, their preconceived notions. I get to show them that THEY decide who they will be, not their past, not their families, not their circumstances. And I get to do it while teaching them about life's most important topics: parenting, money management, nutrition, relationship skills, leadership, and more. There is nowhere I'd rather be as far as work is concerned. I'm so thankful God brought me to this place in my life. He knew just where I need to be to feel valuable and useful. It makes me feel like I was created for this purpose, at least for this time in my life.

6. School / education. I'm an oldest child with a sick need for approval. There was no way I could have quit even if I'd wanted to. But I didn't. I'm a nerd and I like school.

I don't know what you're committed to, but I hope it's something that makes you happy and gives you fulfillment. We ladies are super good at thinking about all the junky ("junk" and its variations are my favorite expletives) stuff in our lives: our flaws, the things we've quit, the mistakes we've made; I'm sure you have your own list. As your friend, I'm going to give you some friendly advice. Shut up already. And I say that with all the love in my heart. No one, least of all YOU, needs or wants to hear what a miserable and worthless being you are. Suck it up, and move on. Focus on the important things in your life that you HAVE been committed to. If you quit, maybe it wasn't all that important. Or maybe that can just fuel your resolve to get back at it. Commitment happens one meal at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.

So I quit some stuff. It was like $20 worth of fabric for that quilt, and I enjoyed it for a while. Pretty cheap entertainment if you ask me. And who knows, maybe one day I'll get around to finishing it...