In my short life of 24.5 years, I've already quit quite a number of stuff.
1. Quit math and science in JC when I dropped H2 Math and H2 Chemistry
2. Quit law school after a month
3. Quit my first full time job after 2 months
4. Quit my dream job after 3 weeks
Quitting, or what the Chinese call 半途而废 always has a negative connotation.
It often suggests the lack of determination to see something to completion or being fickle in choices.
I'm not trying to promote quitting ah, not saying that if you're unhappy in a job/school you should immediately take action.
We've been labelled a generation of quitters,
Strawberries that cannot take a slight bruising.
But sometimes there's more than meets the eye.
I clearly remember slouching over my study desk, the harsh light from the table lamp casting dark shadows over my notes.
Almost 300 pages of them (double sided), with now unrecognisable words sprawled across the pages and the morning that seemed to come too quickly every night.
When I graduated from Secondary School, I didn't have the slightest inkling of what I wanted to be when I grew up.
But as a student that graduated with 5 out if 6 distinctions, they said
"Don't waste it! Go and try for medical school! Oh wait, you didn't take science, then try for Law lah!"
So Law school I did try for, and into Law school I went.
The first few days after the acceptance letters came was bliss. My mother was proud, and so was I.
Proud that I had gotten into a good school and a good course.
The first few days after curriculum started was…confusing.
Left, right and center, seniors would tell you that you would have so many readings to do you would be reading them everywhere you went.
On the bus,
In the loo,
Oh, and don't worry about sleeping because you wouldn't have the time to sleep.
The thing that weirded me out though, was how they said it with a sense of pride.
Then came the endless nights of sitting by the printer waiting for it to regurgitate the blank sheets of paper with and endless stream of readings.
And the long nights that turned into short ones when you realised the day had broken but you were nowhere close to finishing your work.
The nights are lonely. For a non serial quitter, the nights are lonely, but necessary. They are necessary for a good career, a good income and a good life.
Quitting was not an option for me.
Even though it crossed my mind countless times. I repeatedly questioned myself if this was the life I wanted to live.
Dramatic, but in that moment, completely necessary.
I asked myself if this was what I wanted to do. And I couldn't answer that question.
But when I asked myself if this was a life I didn't want. The answer was as clear as day.
I struggled in Law school. I wasn't good at what I was doing and I definitely didn't like it.
I turned to self-harming to keep myself afloat, and I cried every single night, on the phone with Daniel, on the phone with my brother, on the phone with my best friend.
Then I turned to writing. And realised with striking clarity, that in a dark time, it could bring me out of the light.
So, I left school.
That afternoon, sitting in the admin office, filling out my withdrawal form, accompanied only by a stack of surveys I was instructed to complete for my new internship at a magazine,
I was happy.
My mum on the other hand, yelled at me through the phone because I had filled in the withdrawal form behind her back, while she was overseas.
To everyone else, including Daniel at some point of time,
I didn't try hard enough.
How could you know if you liked or didn't like something after just 4 short weeks?
How could you know that you suck at something without even trying long enough?
Everyone thought it was a huge waste.
But you are never a waste.
I'm not trying to justify why I quit law school.
Maybe if I did stay, I'd have adapted and done reasonably well. Who knows?
But if you know, with an absolute sense of clarity that this is not a life you'd like to lead, this is not a path you want to take and this is not the people you'd like to associate with, it's ok to say
Ok, this isn't for me.
My first job was the amazing dream job worthy kind of job.
But like Law School, behind the "livin the high life" exterior, it brought about it's own set of problems.
They said, maybe things will get better, you will learn to cope, the environment will change, the leadership will change.
But life is like love.
You don't fall in love with someone expecting them to change for you.
Love doesn't work that way.
And neither does life.
Don't sit around waiting for change to happen.
You can be the change you want to see….in your life.
The millennials might be strawberries, superficial and a generation that spends a lifetime chasing trends.
But guess what, if we're always chasing something, it means we are always on the move.
We are go getters. We don't sit around waiting for shit to suddenly change for the better.
We know what we don't want. And we are always ready to move on.
Serial quitting is tough.
If you quit your first job, people give you the benefit of the doubt.
"She's just trying to figure out what she wants to do in life. Afterall, it's the first job"
But when it's your second, third or nth time, they start to believe that you're just a quitter. No dedication, no determination. No nothing.
But you gotta be ok with that. You gotta be able to stand up to the comments and be like…
But I think most of all, you got to be able to handle the consequences.
It's one thing to be a serial quitter that is able to take all that negativity (and the months being a broke ass bitch) in your stride and be like….
Ok. It's ok. I can do this. It's just a bad month not a bad life.
But another to quit and blame the world for your misfortune and then roll around in self pity.
Your quitting got to be worth something.
If you quit in search of your life's special something, then you better be prepared to search goddamned hard.
After quitting my first job, I went through 5-6 rounds of highly competitive interviews to clinch my dream job. I searched hard and made sure I tried harder when that special something knocked on my door.
But then the special something in my life turned out to be OBC. So I guess now, I'm still trying to make sure my special something stays alive.
That special something in your life will always change. Just like how you will.
People give up dream jobs for families, give up families for a dream job.
Give up health for money, then give up money for health.
It's ok to be always looking. Not all of us are lucky enough to find our something special on the first try.
Actually, most of us aren't.
One of the most compelling reasons I gave myself for leaving my job for OBC was that this is possibly the only time in my life where I will be responsibility-free.
I'm married, no kids, my parents are not reliant on me and I don't have a ton of bills to pay or mouths to feed.
There is literally no better time for me to take a risk and quit the stability.
And even if you might not be in the same phase in life as me, this applies to you too.
The longer you stay at a place you feel uncomfortable at, the easier it is to settle.
No matter how much you dislike doing something, you can get comfortable doing it.
You can settle.
And settling is a dangerous thing.
It's what keeps people at their jobs, unfulfilled and unmotivated.
It's what kept my parents at their jobs for 30 years, and it's what buried their dreams.
I'm not saying it's bad to settle. But everybody should have their shot at finding that something special.
Some people search a lifetime but never find it. But they see glimpses of it in their children, having a happy family, an inviting home.
That's ok too.
But if you happen to have an oberwhleming call from the universe to leave and look for something better,
There's no better time to do it than now.
I left the something special I had in search for something even more special.
And every day I wake up telling myself. Even if OBC doesn't work out, or it ends up being not so special after all,
At least I tried searching for it.
Maybe after OBC, I will learn to settle too. And maybe that's a damn good thing.
But for now, I'm happy searching.