24 January 2012


Well, the cold snap snapped out of it very quickly. After just a few days of blistering cold and snow, we're back to temperatures just above freezing, and the ice on the lake is turning to slush. They've even got the weed whacker out already! Yes, there's a lake weed trimmer. It looks like a cross between a barge and a tractor, and sails around on the lake, trimming the water weed down to manageable proportions. Usually, I've seen it out in the spring, but I guess winter is really a better time to go after the milfoil, which is an introduced water weed that, if left to its own devices, will happily take over the lake. The weed harvester had to do double-duty today as icebreaker, though, so I'm not sure they'll actually go through with it.

Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about today: quitting. Oh no, no, stop panicking! I'm not going to quit blogging (again). At least not right now. (That was what you were panicking about, wasn't it?) I'm also not talking about smoking, this time. No, this is a different matter. You see, I've gone back to school. Or, really, I'm staying right here in my comfortable computer chair, and am un-going back to school, as it were: I enrolled in an online Master's degree program. I started a couple of weeks ago, blithely getting myself into two full courses at once. And by the end of the first week, I was starting to panic.

Now, I've done online studies before; in fact, my whole undergrad degree was done without once setting foot in a classroom. I really like that method of studying. But, wouldn't you know it, grad school is harder than undergrad! Nobody told me that. (It's rather like when we moved from our mobile home to our nice big house - nobody told me that a house that's three times as big as your old one also takes three times as long to clean.) The nerve of them, leaving me ignorant like that! Well, actually, truth be told, they did tell me; I just wasn't ready to hear it.

So there I was, overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling like I was already falling behind, in my first week of studies. (Here is Steve, modelling what the overwhelmedness looked like.) And you know what I did? I quit. No, not the whole shot - I've waited so long to be able to take this Master's program, to finally get to play with the big kids, I'm not going to drop out! Not just yet, anyway. No, I just let go of one of the two courses I had enrolled in. The one that wasn't mandatory. It'll be offered again next year. And meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy myself in the one course I have left.

My pride had to take a bit of a hit on that one. I thought I could handle this - as I said, I'm well used to doing online studies. How different could this be? Besides, I don't have a paying job right now, I can really concentrate on studying. Most of my classmates do this stuff on top of full-time work. But, the fact of the matter is, I was getting stressed, and overwhelmed, and not liking it - and so, what's the point to keep on slugging away at something that's no fun, just in order to satisfy my craving for showing how much better I am than everyone else because I can handle this (with one hand tied behind my back, the other holding a mug of tea, and my nose doing the typing)? Forget it. I'd rather be happy than impressive. If I have to pay with burnout for satisfying my pride, it's not worth it. In fact, paying with anything for satisfying my pride is not worth it.

So I pulled up the form that said "Course Withdrawal" on the top, filled in my information (what's my student number again?), and hit "send". Phew. On with the course that's left. I'm determined to have fun with this.

Life, the Universe, and Quitting. I highly recommend it.


  1. Good for you for noticing your limitations and how are you "being" in your "purpose"! You gave yourself permission to listen to yourself! I love your pic of Steve!! Excellent
    display of being overwhelmed!! LOL

  2. I think sometimes that's the best thing you can do - give yourself permission to go easy on you! Good for you.

  3. I often find it so much easier to see where *other people* need to quit whatever they're doing to much of - it's hard to see in the mirror sometimes!

  4. I think it's important for us to talk openly about quitting - it inspires others to really think about what they are doing and whether it really serves them or not. I personally love quitting things that leave me feeling stressed or empty or bad in any way. But so many of us were brought up with the belief that we should never quit anything we've started, which of course is bunk. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. Yup. "Finish what you start" has its merits, but it can be taken too far.