iQuit – by Haley Jones Chiarmonte

It was about 2 months ago, and the email read something like this; “I can not do it anymore… I’m sorry. Please understand, this is not for me. I quit”. Quietly, I sat at my kitchen counter and held my finger over the send button for over an hour contemplating if what I was doing was right. You see, I was attempting to quit the esthetics program I enrolled myself into January 2, 2013 and for me, quitting has been no stranger. It started when I was 7 years old and my mother put me in ballet lessons. I quit half way through. It continued through my young adulthood, quitting soccer, tennis, and violin lessons… basically anything that required a little bit of heart and a lot of commitment. I even spread my nasty addiction of quitting into relationships and jobs by letting go of people and places that cared for me and encouraged me. It is a terrible habit that has taken me years to realize, but here I was, sitting in front of my computer attempting to quit yet another commitment I made.

After sitting there for another 15 minutes, going back and forth as to why I needed to walk away from school while making up endless stories, my heart told me these were just excuses and I needed to finish what I started. I ended up closing the email, putting on my bright red and black uniform, and going to school.

I am now only a few days away from graduating my esthetics program and I am filled with gratitude as I think about how living consciously and being more aware of my sometimes “erratic emotions” kept me from making a huge mistake. Now I know it would have been a travesty because I wouldn’t have met Greg, who in his old age, was getting his first pedicure and I watched as he sunk down in his chair smiling and enjoyed this simple pleasure, one that I had enjoyed many times without even thinking about it. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of meeting Margret, who during her facial, told me of her son who was deployed in the Army and how she loved and missed him every day. The tears rolled down her face and I was thankful that I was the one to wipe them and help her relax for at least an hour.  And then there was Cynthia from Louisiana, in my spa for an “eye enhancement”, trying to achieve a new look on the outside, but couldn’t have been more pure and sweet on the inside. Her family was in Hurricane Katrina a few years ago and she explained to me how her father died during the storm and that they never recovered his body. Because of her heartache, she has spent the last 6 years educating people about natural disasters and donating over 40,000 to the Red Cross. Just amazing. Oh, and I can’t forget my personal favorite, Peter, the 60-year-old rock star who needed a manicure to keep up on his guitar hands. Peter and I chatted all the way through the treatment about the love of his wife who passed 3 years ago and of course, rock-and-roll.  The truth is, I may never use my license after I’m finished here, in fact I plan on continuing my work towards a college degree, but knowing that I met and learned from people like Greg, Margret, Cynthia, and Peter, I will be forever grateful.

There is truly something to be learned from every experience we sign up for. And with that I challenge everyone to look for the people or experiences in your life that have lifted you up and created a new dialog of living for you. Take a moment and thank those people, those experiences, whether you view them as positive or negative, and give some appreciation to the things that have shaped you to this point. I can firmly say I am no longer a quitter, but a continuous learner, doing my best to appreciate the small things along the way.