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  • Writer's pictureOlive Persimmon

The Things Not Meant For Me

I was listening to a Taylor Swift song the other day (huzzah Swifties unite) and one of the lyrics hit me to my bones. The line was ”You know, in your soul, when it’s time to go.”

So there I am, driving down the Route 8 expressway having deep Taylor-ignited thoughts but I wasn’t thinking about the times I left. I was thinking about all the times I should have left but didn’t. The times when all signs pointed toward the exit and I pretended not to see them, usually fought harder to keep whatever it was. And I’m talking about people, jobs, places, dreams, things I begged and prayed for.

Oftentimes, when I didn’t make the choice to leave, it went down in flames. I got fired from jobs. I stayed in relationships that diminished my sense of self. I relentlessly pursued old goals that kept me from following other dreams. As I got older, I’ve learned from the crash and burns. I now realize that one of the biggest blessings of my life is that the Universe doesn’t let me keep things that aren't meant for me.

Now I recognize the warning signs. The fear and anxiety manifest in my body. It’s the moments in the shower when my heart starts beating too fast and my brain gets cloudy. It’s the fake smiles and the trying too hard to make something easy when it isn’t. I used to ignore these signs and pretend like anxiety was something I caught like a cold, with no rhyme, reason, or relation to anything else going on in my life. In fact, I often thought it was the cause for my poor performance at work or distance in a

relationship, instead of realizing it was the effect of being on a path not meant for me.

I used to be afraid to leave because of the unknown. The what came after, like how would I pay my rent if I quit my shitty job or was I gonna be single forever or whatever.

But I’ve learned that walking away gracefully is a kindness to everyone involved. When you don’t, it gets numb or ugly, so it’s truly a deep act of love and respect to have the courage to leave before that happens.

Over the years, I’ve found when I ACTUALLY made the choice to leave, when I remember to accept that God knows better than I know, the universe started lining things up for me. As if to say we’ve been waiting for you to get here. Here’s this bigger and better thing you couldn’t articulate because you were clinging to the smallness of that old thing.

Does it always work out? I don’t know, but I know the alternative has never once led to my happiness and well-being.

So if you're looking for a sign to leave, I'm not gonna say this is it. But I will say, start paying attention to how something makes you feel, and give those emotions the airtime they deserve.

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Apr 15, 2023

This reminds me of a very old This American Life episode on the virtues of quitting. One person even had a zine about quitting and a whole academic theory about it. This was probably 25 years ago. I wonder whatever became of that. I suppose she moved on.

Here it is:

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