A beautiful, and somewhat mournful song plays on the radio often these days. It was written by Chad Vaccarino, Ian Axel, and Mike Campbell and is entitled “Say Something” (Say Something I’m Giving Up On You). When I read the lyrics, I think of unattainable love, of knowing, sadly, that it is time to let go, to give up, to be the courageous one, and to stop trying once and for all. In regards to love, I venture to say we’ve all been there, maybe more than once. Need that be sad though? Or negative? Could such a decision be wise and thus positive?
Here’s the dilemma. Many of us were taught early on that quitting is an undesirable action. Who admires a quitter after all? We learn to keep on trying until we get it right, whatever “it” may be. For many not giving up is a way of life. We work on that math problem until it is correct. We struggle to end that pesky essay, all one thousand words of it. We stay in school. Finish the class. Cross the finish line. Earn the degree. Work hard. Make every effort to succeed. We make the most of our talents. Follow our passions . . . and on and on. Whatever happens, “Don’t quit,” we are told.
Well, wait . . . perhaps not so fast. Can’t quitting be an absolute positive as well? A young acquaintance of mine entered rehab recently for alcohol dependency. He finally made the decision to quit and though I realize his journey may not be easy, I’m proud of him. He is strong for wanting to quit. If he stays sober, he deserves a t-shirt that boasts “Quitter and proud of it!” When I was young I thought cigarette smoking was cool for about six months until I realized it wasn’t. I vividly can remember buying a pack of cigarettes, throwing the whole pack into a flaming fire in the fireplace, and watching it burn. It felt good. I was a triumphant quitter. Every day people who have been alcohol or drug dependent make brave decisions and become quitters, and no one can fault them for that.
So, I’m a bit confused. The dictionary describes a quitter as someone who gives up. The thesaurus equates quitter to one of the following: deserter, coward, defeatist, loser, pessimist, and fatalist. An antonym is “go-getter”. Is that correct?
Let’s just wait up for a second. Quitting, as a concept, I suppose, is in the “holding” of it. Quitting obviously necessitates thinking or problem solving in some cases; quitting often requires effort. When it comes right down to it, the actual process of quitting, quite paradoxically, may call for not quitting.
And yet, one can quit on a whim. So which is it . . . good or bad? Will someone figure this out for me?