Emma Kate & Co.

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Why I Love Quitting

It's no secret that I’m a serial quitter. We all have our vices; tequila, Ben and Jerry’s, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, all of the above. Mine just so happens to be quitting. I love to quit.

After getting the grades to get into university at 18, I felt strangely underwhelmed. Unlike most of my peers, I wasn’t excited. In fact, I didn’t really feel anything at all. That morning, I felt so confused at my lack of enthusiasm that I even went for a run. If that doesn’t prove something was up, I don’t know what will. There was something telling me not to go. When I voiced this to my friends during a post-results, booze-fuelled celebration, they batted the idea away, saying that they knew I’d end up going. Long story short however, I didn’t. Not that year anyway. And so began my love affair with quitting.

The sense of relief that came with doing the unexpected was astonishing, and strangely exhilarating. I had to admit, it felt bloody good. My whole life I’d been doing things because I felt I had to. It’s a bizarre feeling to be suddenly given total control of your life after 18 years of being taken by the tide. A year after my first foray into quitting, I did it all over again. I started studying Law at one of the best universities in the country. As people so often reminded me, I was very lucky to be there. Fact of the matter is folks, Law is boring. A commendable but dull pursuit, it simply wasn’t for me. The prospect of dedicating at least three years of my life to this dreary subject was depressing and I wasn’t having any of it.

So I dropped out.This decision was a trickier one. I’d already slogged out a third of the course. I’d invested my time, made good friends and taken out thousands of pounds worth of loans. I felt bad for family members, who’d have to explain when asked that no, I wasn’t studying Law anymore. I felt embarrassed for myself, worried that people would think I dropped out because I was completely incapable. I felt guilty to throw away such an amazing opportunity. 

After much debate, I decided that no matter how much I'd invested in that degree, it wasn't worth carrying on. Later I did a bit of research and came across the concept of sunk cost fallacy, which pretty much explains why any of us continue to do things we despise. We’re far more likely to plod on with something if we’ve invested a lot of time or resources into it.  We don’t want to feel like we’ve wasted that time or effort, so we continue even if it’s not working for us. This, of course, is utterly ridiculous. If you continue to do something that has previously made you unhappy, you are surely just going to waste even more time on it. It’s far better to cut your losses, get out of there and find something that you love.

Fast forward to present day and I’m almost certainly the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been. I now study English, a degree I’m completely in love with and would happily do for the rest of my life. I started a blog, have an idea of what I’d like to do for a career and recently found out that I’ll be studying abroad at an Ivy League University. None of which would have happened if I hadn’t been a big old quitter. My patience for activities or people that don’t make me happy or propel me towards my goals has been significantly lowered, and my life is better for it.

Moral of the story: if something doesn’t make you happy, do not spend precious hours of your one and only life doing it. The more things you try, the more likely you are to find the one that lights you up. I'm not one for quotes, in fact they make me cringe, but in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, "I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again". 



  1. I love love love this post and I think I needed it! I need to quit more and stop doing things I don't like!

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    1. So so glad this was helpful! Spend your life doing the things you love xoxo


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