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Quitters and Other Stuff

(Warning: This is a long and potentially boring post about ME.)

What do you think about quitters? Do you see them as weak, unprincipled losers? Or maybe you are of the “honor is the better part of discretion” crowd. “Give it the old college try.” “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” “Persistence pays off.”

For every adage about quitting there are probably ten extolling the virtues of “fighting the good fight”. I have never been a quitter. Most people who know me might call me “scrappy”, “feisty” and even (gasp) “stubborn”.  Sometimes, though, you just can’t fit a square peg into a round hole, and after a few years of trying to hammer a certain square peg into a round hole I have finally decided it’s time to stop “beating a dead horse”. While I expected myself to be totally despondent I feel surprisingly happy about the way things have turned out.

And then, too, lately I have been thinking about legacies…I must say I never thought about my own legacy very much until a few years ago, but as I creep toward my twilight years I have been thinking about it a lot. I’ve always associated legacies with great people who have done truly awesome things that will be read about generations from now. But can’t legacies also be our family – our children and grandchildren and so on down the line? Well, of course, eventually so much time will pass that we will be referred to as just  “our great great grandparents” by our heirs, but still I think you catch my drift. I have done nothing great nor have I  had children so what is my legacy? Is living a happy life and touching as many people in a positive way that I can enough?

Last month when I went home for Justin’s wedding I also attended my niece’s high school graduation. Like most graduations it was held in the high school gym  on a sweltering Midwestern day. I hadn’t set foot in that gym in over *cough* years, and of course it hadn’t really changed that much. I spent a lot of time in that gym. When I was in high school I played on the girls basketball team (I was a tomboy growing up and loved sports). We were one of the first girls’ teams at a time when Title IX was new and girls were just beginning to get their own athletic programs. (I will save you the trouble of looking it up because you know you want to – I graduated high school in 1978). During my sophomore year our team came within one game of making it to the state tournament. We were a small school in a town of 6,000 so it would have been a huge accomplishment for us to compete against larger cities, but we came up just a bit short.

If you’ve met me then you may be laughing at the fact I played on the basketball team because I am a bit short as well. However, it was that scrappiness, feistiness and even stubbornness that secured my spot. I wasn’t a very good shooter and I wasn’t going to get many rebounds (though I believe I did get 1 once), but I was a bit of a pest (“the more things change, the more they stay the same”), and I parlayed that into becoming the defensive specialist who was sent in from the bench.

Imagine my surprise and absolute delight last May at seeing a large photo of our team hanging above one of the big double doors leading into the gym. Heck, I was almost life-size! (Remember, I said I was short.) So, anyway, there was a legacy, of sorts, because it’s documented and even though it’s nothing great…hey, it’s mine. For a brief time I was a “big fish in a small pond” – but that’s an adage for discussion another day.

I blacked out names to protect the innocent. I am number 3. And, yes, we really were the Mules – you can save the wisecracks because I’ve heard them all before. 🙂

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11 responses

  1. I spotted you immediately! I didn’t even have to look – you jumped right out of the page at me. Boy, am I glad you really turned out to be No. 3 or I would have been in trouble there. Girl (did you noticed that subtle change of gender), you haven’t changed a bit. And enough of this “twilight years” coming from you, you little pipsqueak! I was 15 years old when you were born. What does that make me! Of all the nerve! You ruined my day. And to top it off, II had planned to sit around under the A/C all day and now you’ve prodded me to get up off my fat ass and work on my legacy! I’ll eat one of my delicious home-grown huge tomatoes that I’ll be picking about eight of this morning in your honor and wishing you had one. That’s the most I can do.

    Love ya!

    June 28, 2012 at 5:18 AM

  2. Oh quitters, I read it as quilters, which I like very much. As for as quitters, sometimes there are good reasons to take a different path. And for legacy, I love your question, “Is living a happy life and touching as many people in a positive way that I can enough?” I can’t think of anything more important or meaningful than that. Great picture, I guessed you were number three. I enjoyed this post which was not long or boring.

    June 28, 2012 at 8:19 AM

  3. Magpie

    A good decision just feels right. You’ve made the right one for the right reasons. You should feel good!
    You are all of the adjectives you used to describe yourself as well as dedicated, intelligent, generous, wry and funny. The list could go on and on. Be proud of your legacy and recognize the part you “play” in so many lives, Number 3! Love you!
    And what is this about tomatoes????

    June 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM

  4. i think when it comes to quitting it is a decision we each must make…there are some good reasons and some not so good reasons…all depends….pretty cool on the picture

    June 28, 2012 at 8:38 AM

  5. Cousin Kathy

    What I know about quitters: I quit a job today. Just up and quit. I was not the least bit happy at it. Luckily, I quickly used MY scrappiness and got my old job back. I don’t feel like a quitter. I feel so lightweight and happy that i am going back to medicine, which I love and am so good at, that it just can’t be a bad thing. At age 55, I am so into making sure I am happy, and when I stop being happy, it’s time to move forward. Or backward, whatever the case may be. I am so happy being a quitter and moving backward, that I am deluding myself into believing I can live for the next month on $300.00…and I will, too! I am happily related to Tracy. And anyone who knows her, knows she is going to leave a huge legacy just by who she is. My kids certainly know how proud I am of her, and so do their kids. Her name is an everyday word around here. xxoo

    June 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

  6. Interesting post.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM

  7. Moss-e

    I recognized you immediately in the pic…

    June 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

  8. Well well well…..the photographer breaks down and writes BIG time!! This post wasn’t long enough! Thank you for sharing something so personal. Well, where do I start? About quitting, don’t beat yourself up even though you’ve already done it:) I quit once. I am a quitter. I, like you, fought the fight…and then I snapped. Mr. Perfect(in my mind) quit. I beat myself up for several years after I left the Peace Corps early. It’s only now I can talk about it. Until that point, I never quit anything. It’s like you say…”trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.” It was a great choice then and I’m glad I made it today. So whatever it is that makes you feel like a quitter…..don’t stress about it. Life is too short and you’ve obviously put a lot of thought into it……so that tells me you did the right thing:) And you say you’re happy so that’s even better:)

    And legacy. I don’t have kids. Not sure I ever will. But that’s a great thing to explore. That’s the fun part. You can make it whatever you want because it’s never too late to begin:) I have those days as well….the deep thought with a bottle of red wine and access to a blog. Scary:) Hope you are having a great weekend. I’m teaching summer school right now and hating every single moment of it as it’s interferring with my photography and writing.:) I have to pay my mortgage next month. Sometimes being an adult sucks:) Talk to you soon:)

    June 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    • Oh I should probably add. “Legacy” is a great thing to explore…..not the having kids part:) Well unless you get bored:)

      June 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

  9. MB

    I played basketball in high school too. I was and still am short but you said it–scrappiness counts. We were a very small school(60 in my grad class) but we were loud.
    As for ‘quitters’ well that just wasn’t in our vocabulary. MB

    July 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM

  10. TexWisGirl

    oh my gosh – you were/are cute! i was hoping you weren’t going to get too deep. since today was my 49th b-day, i’ve been thinking a lot about my own legacy – have been ‘temporarily retired’ these past 2 1/2 yrs after being laid off, enjoying life, but have found myself wondering what it’s all for? no kids. no grandkids. mid-life crisis here i come… 🙂

    July 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM