Retire early and often

I’ve never quit anything in my life… but I have retired from many things (piano lessons, school sports etc).  Obviously, quitting implies that I was incompetent or at least frustrated.  But retiring is a graceful pivot, and it’s a way of saying to your community two things:

1.) “I’m going out on top”

2.) “Don’t ask me about this thing anymore, okay?  It’s over.”

Retiring also makes for a smooth conversation when you have to explain why you’re no longer doing that thing anymore.  For example, let’s say you used to be a dentist.

Conversation A:

You: Yes, I was a dentist, but then I quit.

Other person: Oh, why?  What happened?  Did you get sued?  Oh God, what a nightmare..

Now you’re on your way to talking about how you sucked at being a dentist. At this point, a crowd might gather around you, smelling your fear, and start pointing and laughing.  So, let’s avoid that, and do this instead.

Conversation B:

You: Yes, I was a dentist, but then… I retired.

Other person: Oh, wow – good for you.  What are you doing now?

Now it sounds like you did a reasonable amount of dentistry, which naturally lead to retirement.  For all this other person knows, you could have been highly decorated as a dentist, beloved by all patients.  Maybe you received the prestigious Golden Tooth Award (which is awarded annually to the dentist whose patient, after surgery, goes on to produce the funniest anesthesia video)

Never quit..  but always retire.

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