Saturday, April 18, 2009

Confessions of a quitter

I have an irritating habit of theorizing about the problems of “society.” Who knows what that means? All of us? Fox news? “The masses?” Everyone except me? I don’t know what I think I mean, but I’ve just realized something painfully obvious. When I complain about “society,” I’m complaining about me without realizing it.

Here’s one of my old favorites about “society.” I love witnessing virtuosic skill, those people who make things look so easy and natural. Then, when I try something a few of times and I feel clumsy, I get frustrated and I think, “this just isn’t my thing.” From a challenging recipe to a language or a sport or a BLOG, when I fail, I do something else. When the novelty wears off and the fruits of the labor have yet to even bud (because the seeds haven't even had time to sprout), I get bored and do something else, which is to say, I quit.

I began to notice this last week. I’ve been riding my bike about every other day for 3 weeks now, because I’m trying to get used to the saddle before a long bike ride we’re doing in a couple of weeks. I have a tendency to not ride and not ride, and then try a 20-30 mile ride, which is manageable to my cardiovascular fitness, but not to my backside. Then I’m too sore to even think about riding for at least a week. So lately, I’ve been embracing this incredibly manageable goal. Ridiculously short rides more regularly, gradually increasing. I’ve been noticing that I feel so comfortable on my bike! People don’t really forget how to ride, but I never thought about how nice it would be to improve, and how practicing regularly would pretty much guarantee improvement (at my level). Duh. I can be so dense.

I'll make general observations like, “people won’t do things just for fun, if they’re not instantly good at something they give up, and they claim that they’ve tried that already.” Yeah, people DO do that. Especially me.

That persistence in the face of adversity that I so admire, that I find so lacking in "society," -- I have none of that. Or, I should say, I don't bother to call it up out of myself when something gets hard. But I don't officially quit. I just get "busy" trying something else. "Yeah, Chinese is interesting, but I'm just so busy."

So my radar is up, gentle reader, and the next mention I make of “Society” will send a jolt of self-awareness through my central nervous system so powerful, that it may induce me to quit my bitchin’. A girl can dream, can't she?


  1. Oh Eliza! I get SO busy, too. In fact, next time I'm tackling something really tough, and have been working hard on it for AT LEAST ten minutes,
    I will NOT give up (unless, of course, you might be available for tea....)
    Love, Ellen

  2. The problem with society is all the stupid people who are not me... :-) Other than that, it's not bad.

    Thanks, Eliza, for the link. I think I'm going to go avoid something now, since I'm really busy myself..

    with love, Brian

  3. Dear Ellen,
    No matter what adversity we have to face -- breads that are too thickly sliced, no double devonshire cream -- I promise not to quit having tea. It's the new me!

    And Brian, I agree with you about society, except that I'm in the category of people who aren't you, so my point of view is pretty suspicious. I'll have to think about that sometime when I'm not so busy ;).


  4. Yes, Eliza! Sometimes, I brew a perfect cup of Earl Grey, and then discover we are OUT OF MILK! It takes something to drink, to drink FULLY, in the face of that. Love, Ellen