Monday, April 29, 2013

Quitting the Game

My weekend, which a pessimist might easily compare to a set of testicles, began on Friday with an extremely rough time volunteering at the Therapeutic Riding Center. I could go into all the things I know or I think I know about horses and their behavior, but it comes down to this: one of the horses freaked out (because some stupid high schooler was messing with her girth) at the same moment I was walking behind her. I reached out and touched her butt to let her know I was behind her so that she didn't kick me. And the trainer who runs the Center screamed at me. Mercilessly. In front of a large group of people. It was humiliating. When we moved out to the ring there were a few moments when no one could see my face as I stood beside my horse, and tears started rolling down my cheeks as I decided that after the session (there are 2 sessions per evening) I was going to get into my car, drive away, and never ever go to therapeutic riding ever again.

I didn't. By some grace I didn't know I have, I pulled the tattered shreds of my dignity together and tied them into a serviceable ball, riding a horse for the second session (usually I walk beside a rider, but some of the horses  need training just as much as the riders do, so sometimes volunteers are asked to ride). I left dirty, dusty, tired, and emotionally raw, and I'll be back on Tuesday for more.

The thing about quitting is how goddamn easy it is. The number of games I've beaten: less than ten. The number of games I've quit because I grew frustrated, bored, or reached an obstacle I couldn't overcome: countless. (DISCLAIMER: I quit playing Mass Effect 2 because I started believing that I was Commander Sheppard and began behaving accordingly in my everyday life. This proved somewhat unhealthy, and for the sake of my mental stability I forced myself to put it away). That's not to say that I need to finish every game I play. Some games suck (Golden Ax). Some games are good, but they're just not for me (Red Dead Redemption). But a lot of games would probably have made me happy if I would have just stuck with them instead of throwing down the controller and yelling, "Oh well, fuck it!" Sports and hobbies are much the same. There are a lot that just aren't right for me, but too often we find we've stopped making progress as quickly as we wanted, or we can't get over an obstacle, or we just don't feel like taking time out of our schedules anymore, and suddenly it's "fuck it I quit," and we're on to something else (or back to watching T.V.)

On Saturday I went to the gym, and worked and worked at my cross-back straddles, and made no. fucking. progress. whatsoever. It was as insanely frustrating as any boss fight you can't manage to beat, but today I'm going to go back and try again. And I have to keep trying because I know that after this challenge, there's the rest of this really cool game that I'm going to love. I just have to beat this part. It's the same with jobs, relationships, and all the other shit life throws at us. Some of it is just really, really boring. Some of it is horrifically challenging (see also: Living with My Boyfriend). It's easy to quit. But in the end, when you've reached 100 Smithing or destroyed that disgusting flesh monster or managed to collect your dignity and return to the Therapeutic Riding Center, there will be rewards. They won't always be sitting in a chest waiting for you, but you will find them, and it's so much better than quitting.

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