Over the years, I’ve had many interests and hobbies. Ive been a major gaming/computer geek, a comic book collector, breeder and exhibitor of dogs, and so on. I’ve been a participant on a number of Internet forums. IRC channels, USENET groups, web forums, bulletin boards, you name it, the odds are that at one point or another I was there. What they all have in common is “have been.” As in “former” and “no longer participating.”
One of my first posts here stated why I was leaving one site. In thinking back on it, the process had a lot in common with the other things I’ve ended up walking away from over the years. There is a process, that turns me from from an avid – almost obsessive – participant to someone who just walks away. It’s never a snap decision. I don’t just wake up one morning and decide “that’s it!” It may seem that way to some, but in actuality, the “snap” is an end point. The process starts when I realize – and it may take some time for that realization to sink in – that I no longer find it interesting or fun. It may be because of disagreements, financial strains, or just tired of the the repetitiveness. Sometimes, it’s just “gotten old, ” having started being replaced by a new interest. Even then, I don’t just quit. I’m stubborn. I’ll cut back my participation, take breaks, and generally do something to try to get back to the reasons I was doing it in the first place. Every now and then, it works. Most of the time, it doesn’t. It may take a while, but I decide to stop. I walk away.
The usual case is that isn’t the end of it. I don’t just “stay away.” I have friends or projects that I was involved with, something – and they’ll persuade me to come back. I may not want to, but some form of “unfinished business” or crisis seems to crop up. For example, in one hobby, I’d been involved in a major political battle regarding the national governing body. It was brutal, it was nasty, and it went on for a year. It wasn’t the reason I’d left, but it didn’t help. Six years later, it exploded again, and yes, I was dragged back into it despite having left the hobby two years earlier. While not all of the times I’ve been talked into coming back have been quite so dire, what they all have in common is that going back confirms that my decision to leave was right. I could walk away without regrets.
What’s the point of this post? Well, today is a day I walked away from two sites I participated in – again. Both of them were places where I was a regular, until I decided to leave. I was talked into coming back, and after a few months of it, have come to the decision that it’s time to walk away … again. No regrets, just the final confirmation that they weren’t for me anymore.