A Celebration of Quitting

You know what day it is? The day I would have gone back to school if I were still teaching. I found this out from Facebook. But I’m not going back to school, in the classroom or online, because I quit my tenured job two years ago in order to be a full-time artist and writer. It wasn’t a decision that came easily. I spent years agonizing over it, and wrote two novels in which the characters quit pretty much everything in order to pursue their creative pursuits. It’s funny, I never thought of the parallels between Lone Wolf and Lost Path to Solitude before, but they both sprouted out of my desire to quit a career that wasn’t well suited to me – and a town that was even less so. They were my way of playing with the idea of walking out on my job before I actually had the courage to do it.

I used to love reading books like that too, so no surprise that I tried to write that kind of story. But the thing that bugged me about quitlit was this: What if walking away was the equivalent of the prince and princess living “happily ever after,” that murky fairytale ending that glosses over pretty much the rest of the characters’ lives. What I mean is, in fairytales we never actually get the nitty-gritty of how they build their lives together, if they fight, learn to compromise, hire a cleaner, go to counseling, have regular date nights, plant a garden together, etc. In much of quitlit we also don’t learn what happens once the elation of having freed oneself fades and regular life sets in.

In my case it seems I’m way on my way to “happily ever after” but my first two years of freedom did contain occasional moments of anxiety and of asking myself what I’d done. But now is a good time to take stock. I do feel that I’m coming into my own, and that given enough time I generate lots of ideas for my new business. The ideas are getting more and more fun and more lucrative too. Today I finished packing my bountiful Christmas boxes and wrapped 8 of them. Beyoncé is hiding in one of them, but I don’t remember in which. I’ve already sold 3, and have 7 more to go!

And I’m so grateful that this is what I get to do instead of going back to school! Not just because of the pandemic, but mostly, really, because I don’t want to teach.

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