I recently read a quote from a personal trainer that said, “You’re not finished when you’re tired; you’re finished when you’re done.”
While I appreciate the sentiment of not quitting until you get to your goal, as someone with a chronic illness, I also understand it’s not always that easy.
What do I mean? Well, it seems cliché, but there’s tired and then there’s tired. There are times when I want to quit because, frankly, I’m just to lazy. I think that’s the kind of tired the trainer is talking about, and in that case, they’re right. No one can advance if they quit because it’s hard.
On the other hand, there are times when I want to quit because my body can’t. I tend to describe that as being tired too, but the reality is that it’s more unable than tired. Something has happened inside that means I don’t have the energy to expend, and pushing at that point can create disastrous consequences.
One of the most important parts of managing the complexity of a chronic illness is learning the difference and knowing when to quit. Further, there’s the task of knowing how to tell the people around you who care why you have to quit this time when, maybe, you didn’t have to the last time.
This isn’t an argument for quitting altogether. Rather, it’s an acknowledgement that, sometimes, the path isn’t a straight line toward the destination. Sometimes, we have to know when to quit so we can get ahead.