Moving on when it's time

I was over the moon. The latest installment in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XV, had finally released. Like many longtime fans, I’d been waiting for a decade. I’d scoured the boards, watched all the trailers, debated with friends, and even participated in (and won [!!]) a contest from one of the marketing campaigns. Ya girl was ready. Ya girl was invested.

And ya girl was having a blast as soon as she hit ‘New Game.’ The stunning graphics, the grandiose music, the nostalgia-inducing references to games past… it was a dream come true. And okay, there sure were a lot of side quests. And woah-kay, that was a sudden shift in the plot. And—HEY! FJLKlgsdklgjas gewagj

So was the snowball of hatred that consumed me the further I progressed in this now-nightmare game. But I couldn’t stop playing it. I had waited too damn long for the game’s release and I had to see it through, even if that meant spending 80 hours raging through it.

My complaints flooded the Slack channels at work (I worked in the games industry). Conversations with friends twisted into debates about how dumb the game was. My ranting was as inevitable as the side quests piling up. Mocking the game became its own sport (I showed up to a friend’s birthday party with a shirt I’d created ridiculing one of the characters). At one point my team even gifted me a humorous condolences card.

One day I was at it again, standing next to a coworker’s desk while he patiently waited for me to finish my latest diatribe. In his calm, observant way, he said:

“You need to learn when to quit.”

I shrugged it off in the moment, fueled by an undying rage, but the comment stuck with me. Quitting hadn’t seemed like an option because I had invested so much time into the game. And while I was heavily disappointed in it, it had garnered a lot of hilarious exchanges with friends who felt similarly.

I don’t regret seeing Final Fantasy XV through to the bitter end because of that. But after that season, there were things I struggled with quitting, that made me miserable without the hilarious exchanges to balance things out. I didn’t want to give up so easily. I didn’t want to feel like I’d wasted time or money.

In the end, the only thing that brought me relief, clarity, and focus was quitting. Running into that situation over and over again, I learned to see quitting not as a reflection of myself, but as an acknowledgement of a season that had served its purpose. I could now move on from it with gratitude.

If you’re hitting a weird wall of misery and feel like you need to stick it out because you’ve put too many resources into something, maybe it’s time to quit and move on. That season may have ended. Why not make room for the next one?