When is it okay to walk away?

I quit

I left the practice of law because of a movie (“The Help”) and a song (“I Dare You To Move”).

After far too long in a profession that didn’t fill me up, I quit.  I walked away and I’ve never looked back.

I’m firmly in the “life’s too short” camp, and over the last 6 years, I’ve cut people and things out of my life if they don’t make me happy.

And I’m much happier as a result.

I contemplated this last week after another volleyball match where my kid never set foot on the court. Since she made the JV team, she’s maybe played 2 minutes in the last 6 matches, and she’s been the only girl out of 17 who never rotates in.  Couple that with residual drama from the last season with the coach and some of the girls, and my kid has been just miserable.

While I was contemplating, I heard the voices of other parents and great coaches who talk about powering through the tough times and building your mental strength and it’s not about playing time and you shouldn’t be a quitter.

And I thought why not?

My kid has had more than her share of tough times. She’s had to suck it up and power through far more by 15 than I’ve had to by 45. She’s mentally tough. She’s not a quitter.

But when I realized just how much being on this team was hurting her, I let her quit.

I let her do what I’ve only recently learned to do:. cut people and things out of her life that don’t make her happy.

I understand that team sports teach many valuable lessons about life not being fair, and you can’t always be the best at everything, and not everyone is going to like you.

My kid has already learned those lessons. In spades. She doesn’t need them shoved down her throat every day. Sometimes, things should just be fun, and sometimes things shouldn’t be so dang hard.

Sports is one of those things.

She loves volleyball.  She hated playing on this team. So let’s be done. Let’s just be done.

Life’s too short.

Obviously, there’s a line there. There’s always going to be stuff you don’t love doing, and you’ll have to spend time with people you don’t enjoy, and there will be goals that are extremely hard to reach.  You can’t walk away from everything.

But if you can walk away from someone or something that makes you unhappy, that takes the light out of your eyes, that makes you feel you aren’t valued or that you don’t matter, why don’t you?

As adults, we are afraid to walk away. We are programmed to think things are supposed to be hard, and at times, really friggin’ suck.  We’re taught that people are imperfect, so we stop expecting people to treat us the way we deserve to be treated. We’re told there are no fairy tales, no Happily Ever After, so we live less than our happiest life because we think this is as good as it gets.

I wasted so much time in a career that made me miserable and with people who did the same.

So as a mother, I want my daughter to understand the importance of hard work and dedication, of sacrifice and sticking it out. But I also want her to understand when it’s ok to quit.

She handled herself with grace when talking to her coaches. She let them know her heart was not in it, and never whined or complained or cast blame.

On the way home from that game, she seemed relieved. I told her I was proud of her. All I’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy. That’s all any parent wants.

Empowering her at 15 to recognize when a situation isn’t right for her will hopefully prevent her from wasting time in a career that makes her miserable or with people who do the same.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a career you don’t love, or working with people who don’t treat you with respect, or in relationships of any sort that don’t make you better, it’s really okay to quit.  Because life truly is too short.