I ran a race last Saturday and I felt so miserable I genuinely wanted to quit. I wanted to pull off halfway through, collect my half marathon finisher’s medal, and head home. I didn’t–even though I really wanted to–but those last 13.1 miles of the race caused my already-tired mind to wander in funny directions. My thoughts shifted from the “now” (“Ugh, I really just want to quit this race!”) to the “then”–and by that, I mean thoughts of past “I quit!” moments.
I wrote my mom a letter when I was twelve years old about wanting to quit pop piano lessons. Long story short: she thought her classically trained kid would fare well in a popular music crash-course. Spoiler alert: I 100% did not fare well. So, in order to preserve whatever professionalism you’ve developed at twelve, I whipped out my best stationary and wrote her a note about why it would be best for me to quit. She took it well. However, that would be the last time I quit anything under her roof.
A couple of days ago, I asked if she had that note. She laughed and said, “Well, it’s probably somewhere around here…” And that was that.
Thoughts on quitting permeate nearly everyone’s minds. It’s human nature. When a human is put into a crappy, less-than-desirable situation, he or she will want to quit.
Thoughts on quitting were discussed Monday, during a quick conversation with one of my professors. He’s a marathon runner too and we both agreed that the Free Press Marathon was a complete suck-fest. I then asked him if he ever wanted to quit music and, to my surprise, he said that yes, he had. This was many years ago of course, but at the end of his sophomore year at Northwestern University, he wanted to stop being a music major.
This realization–the realization that many music majors have had moments where they’ve wanted to chuck their instruments into active volcanoes–sparked something in my mind. What if my capstone project was centered around those “I quit!” moments, but there was also a redemptive side: “I wanted to quit, but I didn’t!”
In typical Ellie-fashion, I torched my original plan. Now, in its place is a more collaborative work. I was thinking I could post up in the lobby of the music school armed with Washtenaw Dairy donuts and my polaroid camera. “I’ll give you a donut if you tell me about the time you almost quit your instrument,” I imagine myself saying about a hundred times.
Tell me what you guys think!