I must have been 6 or 7 when Brittany Gimbel convinced me to join a T-ball team. I hadn't yet discovered that there's a reason my family has always been full of nerds instead of jocks, and Brittany had a really cool trophy from her team's victory last year. So I talked to my parents and they signed me up. I went to Walmart with my dad and picked out my first (and only?) baseball glove: black pleather with red trim. My grandma bought me my very own T-ball stand and I spent hours practicing in our driveway.
But things didn't go exactly as planned. Somehow I ended up on a different team from Brittany, a team of complete and total strangers who talked funny and didn't go to my church. You have to understand that I was incredibly shy when I was a kid. On my first day of school, I peed my pants (actually it was a dress...) because I was too afraid to ask if I could go to the bathroom.
Needless to say, I never got to show off my newly acquired T-ball skills because I spent the whole first game hiding in the trashy ballpark bathroom that smelled of stale popcorn and cigarette smoke. I went home and cried until my parents let me quit T-ball.
I've always wondered what would have happened if I had stuck it out. Maybe I'd have a Southern accent like my teammates. Maybe I'd like playing sports with balls involved. Maybe I'd even have a cool trophy or two.
I haven't quit much since T-ball, but I think it's because I stopped trying to do things unless I knew I would be good at them. It's a dumb way to live. I hope you're not guilty of it, but if you are, welcome to the club. (Let's quit it.) There's a metal brick in my office that has the words What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? engraved on it. I almost laughed out loud when I first saw it. Please. Inspirational knick-knacks are about the lamest way to spend money I know of.
But maybe I need inspiration sometimes?
Anyway, recently I've learned that sometimes quitting can be healthy. Not quitting out of fear or shame, but quitting when it takes courage. Last Friday, I quit my job at Accounts Payable. I've never quit a job before in my life, and it took me about a month to work up the guts to do it. As my friend Ben Schnell reminded me, sometimes you have to quit in order to honor a contract with yourself - a commitment to do (or not to do) based on what you can give to the world if you don't let good things distract you from the best things.
I felt as awful as I expected I would as I watched my boss wipe her eyes and try to smile for me. But as I walked out of the Administration building, I knew it was good and right. It's like the painful and pricey freedom that comes from breaking up with someone you knew you shouldn't be dating. But glory hallelujah, isn't it worth it?