Think Like A Freak

I haven't written in over a month, yet it seems much longer. I guess time goes slow when you can only do some of the things you enjoy, and not all of them. But that's neither her nor there or anywhere. I've been able to read quite a bit in the meantime. Of the many on my current list, I just finished Think Like A Freak from the guys that wrote Freakonomics. (I liked it a lot) They talk about what it takes to think like a freak. Looking at problem solving from different points of view, learning how to say "I don't know" and many other things.

The end of the book sent a strong message, one that most people might not agree with, but makes sense to me. They talk about how quitting something isn't necessarily a bad thing, yet it will almost always have a negative connotation. Quitting goes against everything we're taught. We have to suck it up and get through it. If we start something we have to finish it. But why?

There's usually one reason around it. Being seen as a quitter is frowned upon. It's embarrassing. It's the same thing as giving up. Which isn't something people do, especially Americans and athletes.

When I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, I was a two-sport athlete. I played basketball and soccer. Really I called myself a two-sport athlete because I was one and a half into soccer and only half into basketball. I wanted to play indoor soccer during basketball season, but my coach wasn't too fond of that idea. Plus I would kick the basketball all the time and that would piss everyone off.

Now, let's be real. I'm 5'3. I was okay at basketball, but I was never going to be anything special. Plus, I wasn't too crazy about it. (Except the one time I megged a player on an inbounds pass - that was awesome) So I had to make a hard decision that year: quit in the middle of the season, or stick it out and be miserable for another few months.

I still don't know how I had that conversation with a coach when I was only 15 years old. It seems nearly impossible to do even now, but I did it. I did what I felt was best and left the team.

From then on I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. Yeah, I got some slack for it and the coach said "She will never play for me again" - but looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. I was able to focus on school and soccer and not worry about basketball. Because that's what it become. A worry.

People couldn't understand why I would do such a thing. Thankfully, I don't have to explain myself to people. I only have to answer to me.

I won't sit here and say I endorse quitting. Because I don't. What I do endorse though is not being stuck in something that makes you unhappy. I agree with the guys from Think Like A Freak because I experienced the benefits of making that hard decision. I let down my teammates and coaches. And my family a little. But I think they're over it by now.

If I quit and did nothing with my time, then maybe it wouldn't have been as justified. But I got that off my mind so I could focus on what I truly loved.

As a sometimes adult now, I face quitting from time to time. Like during workouts. Especially now when my workout consists of things that only four months ago, wouldn't even be a warmup for me. Sometimes the exercises are so tedious and yet so painful, that I just want to stop. But I don't. I know sticking through this will be worth it. There's no question about it.

But it's not always easy to determine which ones will be worth the ending and which won't be. That's the beauty of life. All we have is our gut feeling. We can listen to it or ignore it. Either way, it's always our choice.

(I apologize for quitting before ending this, but I didn't feel like finishing it) I wanted to get an ice cream instead. Update: I don't regret it.