By: Naomi Matlow
Over the past four weeks, you — our Unsettled community — have shared your hearts, your lives, and what some may deem your “dirty laundry” with us, by sharing your stories of quitting with intention.
From quitting a job, a country, a person, or a habit, we have seen it all. Not only have your stories comforted a gaggle of experienced quitters (yours truly!) but have illuminated a whole slew of shared values that have echoed in every story shared.
American poet and educator Joy Ladin remarked this week on the podcast, On Being with Krista Tippett:
“All human beings actually are ratios of being and becoming, and that for most of us after childhood, we think of ourselves as mostly being with some becoming. And when becoming takes over, becomes a greater proportion, we think of that as a crisis.”
Can we all agree that the universal human state of “becoming” does not end after childhood? And that the crises of quitting, that so many of us experience, are growing pains? Can we also agree that as we continue to evolve and grow as human beings, the variety of what we can become multiplies exponentially?
When we surrender to building a life rich in meaning and personal values, we are gifted with even more choices, and I don’t think I am being presumptuous in saying that choices (and tough choices… the life trajectory kind…) aren’t the easiest things for most of us to make. These are the life defining type of choices that often begin with quitting and evolve into becoming.
So, what did we find that our quitting stories share?
- A desire for greater agency and control over our time and where we put our energy.
- A desire to contribute to our communities and the world at large.
- A desire for authentic connection through shared values.
- A need for stimulation and a capacity for growth.
- A desire for relative flexibility and opportunities to diverge from the daily routine.
- A need for respect of our time, our challenges, and our humanity.
- A desire to control what we can, and a recognition that so many aspects of life are out of our hands.
- A feeling that our potential is not being reached and that we have more to give and become.
Your stories unequivocally proved time and time again that life is a journey, an unfolding story with twists, turns, trials, and tribulations. The act of making the tough decision to quit and change course is an admittance to your environment, but most importantly to yourself, that your journey is evolving in ways that are preventing you from reaching your full potential. You have shown us, and one another, that quitting is not the end of something, but rather the beginning of something even greater — surrendering to your continuous becoming — and what is more human than that?
PS.. If you’ve just quit and are looking to develop more meaning and intentionality out of your next steps, be sure to sign up for our Lifestyle Incubator.