Quitting Something for the First Time, and Being Okay With It

On the outside, it looks like I am a fast decision maker. If you’re in my inner circle, it is not unusual for me to call you up with a big piece of news, but don’t worry - I have a long explanation of why I chose my next step, how it’s going to play out, and everything I have been thinking about up to that point. It’s not that I choose quickly; it takes a lot for me to make a big decision, but when I know, I know.

That’s why I don’t quit things…at least, up until now.

One of my most popular and highly searched posts on this blog is about getting my Master’s in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. I made the decision to go back to school during the summer of 2017, which was a very low point in both my life and career. My marriage was in pain, I felt burned out at work, and I was training for a half marathon to “prove” to myself that I could still do hard things. I was quite literally unraveling at the seams, and I got the idea to go back to school.

Nutrition and functional medicine are topics that I love, research in my own time, and share with anyone who will listen. Getting my Master’s seemed both attainable and fitting, and everyone that I bounced the idea off of agreed. It felt really right for about a year.

I worked through 9 months of prerequisites and the first quarter of the program, and while I struggled with feeling overworked here and there, it was nothing that I couldn’t handle. After all, I’m a do-er, and I’ve spent my whole life juggling more than I probably should. But then, this summer, about a year after I made the initial decision to start back, I began wrestling with things in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.

You see, a lot of the stress in my life that was so heavy in 2017 had lifted by this summer, and the intense need for escape that I had been feeling was no longer there. My studio, my first love, felt good again, life felt a little simpler, and my desire to prove that I was still worth something was fading into the background. I loved so many of the things I was studying, but one of the reasons that school felt invigorating in the beginning was because it was so controllable.

I’ve always been really good at school. It comes naturally to me, I don’t have to expend a ton of effort, and I always succeed. It felt so nice, in the middle of a destructive season, to do something that was just easy and totally in my power. I’m good at this, I would whisper to myself, and my need to self-medicate was satisfied. But, as I began to get more emotionally healthy and get clarity on life’s next steps, the more I realized I was hanging on to something that I didn’t need to be doing.

My goal is to help people, at the end of the day. I want to educate them about nutrition, healthy living, and how to set and reach their goals. And before I went to school, I was doing that through both my blog and my studio. School was refining my knowledge base, sure, but as I spent the tuition money each quarter, I couldn’t fight that nagging feeling that I never planned to open a clinical practice or pour over research studies to diagnose someone in my spare time. I was good at the program, but I didn’t love the career path. I faced this when I was 18, when I had to recognize that I loved performing and worked towards it for all 18 years, but I didn’t want to live the life of a singer or actress. That decision was much more painful, but it did give me legs to stand on for this one.

So, as I was wrapping up my finals this month, I had a breakdown to my mom, my husband, and a couple of my closest friends. Deciding to open my second Pure Barre studio (another post for another time) was the straw that broke the camel’s back and made me realize how much I really wanted to run my businesses and really didn’t want to be in school. All of them answered with a resounding, “Griffin, please quit.”

I withdrew from the spring semester a few days later. Technically, I can be out of the program for a year and still return without reapplying, but I doubt that I will for all of the reasons listed above. It’s funny - every single person that I have told that I am quitting has first said, “I’m really proud of you,” because they realize that, in my life, quitting is actually a sign of maturity. It’s much more in my nature to push through something just because I can. Because I’m me. Because I need to be excellent. It actually felt like sheer torture to admit that I was giving up.

In many ways, I know that writing this post is more for me than it is for you. I need to remember why I did this, so that I don’t beat myself up (enneagram 1s are all nodding their heads). I also need to remember that maybe, just maybe, someone who stumbled upon this post needs to hear that it is okay to close a door that you felt like you were supposed to walk through. God can absolutely lead you in one direction for a while and shift the course, and there’s no shame involved in the equation.

And to be honest, I really missed writing. I missed processing my feelings and sharing them with the world, not just pouring over research papers and case studies. So, in a roundabout way, I’m quitting one thing, but I’m also back to a lot of my first loves, and that feels right. For the first time in a long time, I can’t wait for 2019, and the craziness I’m sure it will bring, because I finally feel like I have the capacity to accept it with open arms.