I like to complete things. Whether the first draft of a book or my entire university degree, I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing something I worked hard on.
I don’t always complete things. In ninth grade, I handed in my provincial achievement test for science incomplete even though I had time to finish, just because I’d had enough of it. That decision never had any impact on me. I don’t know what grade I got on it, but I wasn’t held back or anything. The biggest thing to happen was my teacher’s reaction when she pointed out it wasn’t finished and I said “I know” before walking out of the room.
But sometimes leaving something incomplete feels like a form of failure. I quit. I gave up. I’m not good enough to see it through. Whether it’s quitting piano lessons or putting away an unfinished story, it makes me think less of myself.
So when I decide to stop something before it’s done, it’s a decision I take seriously. In my first year of university when I studied Film Studies alongside Creative Writing, I knew by the end of my first semester that Film Studies was not what I had hoped for. I stayed another semester anyway just to be sure. Looking back, I’m sorry I wasted a semester completely stressed out about a subject I loved. It made me bitter towards films, and I didn’t lose that bitterness until the last semester of my second year when I learned that I loved writing scripts.
I find myself in a similar situation today. I don’t want to repeat the mistake of wasting more time and effort on something that isn’t what I want. But making this difficult decision does leave me wondering whether the problem might just be me.