‘I quit’: A necessary (but still bittersweet) ending

On Wednesday I followed through on a feeling that had been nagging at me for the better part of a month: I quit.

Now I’ve never been a quitter, especially not of things that I’m passionate about. But unlike high school or college where your commitments have seasonal moments of reconsideration and renewal, post-grad passions don’t tend to work that way. Sweet Lemon definitely didn’t. It was an all-consuming passion project; I used to call it my second job. I always meant that in a positive way — until I didn’t.

At some point the previous joys of editing, writing, and running Sweet Lemon turned into tasks that I dreaded and put off. That’s the funny, fickle thing about passion: it can be fleeting. I waited to see if this was part of a natural ebb and flow, that maybe my love for my second job would come back. It didn’t.

I promised myself early on that once it stopped being fun, it was time to end it. A simple barometer that you can’t lie your way through. You’re either having fun or you’re not. It was a promise I’m glad I made to myself because it helped me to realize that while it would be hard to leave something I’d worked so hard to build and shape, I just wasn’t having fun anymore.

And that’s OK. In fact, it’s the natural course of things that the “don’t quit” mentality has (unfortunately) taught us to ignore: some passions aren’t meant to last forever. Sometimes, it’s good to quit.

So I’m sad, but I’m also ready to find something fun again. Some of that will take place on msnbc.com but most of it will — at least for the time being — take place right here in this space. So come and get it, boys and girls! Let’s bring (back on) the fun.

XO,

ali vitali header lowercase

Better to have loved…

I have to continually remind myself of this idea – that it’s better to have experienced, to have seen, to have learned, to have met, to have known someone than it is to not have had that chance at all. But with the series of goodbyes and au revoir’s over the course of the past week and a half, I’m still not too sure this is making it any easier – only showing me that the pit in my stomach is a sign that the past four months were worth it. I had the chance to meet the most amazing people: 31 people at AUCP who, each in their own way, made this experience unforgettable; a host family – complete with live in host brother – who, upon closing the door to my 3rd floor apartment for the last time, really felt like an extension of my real family; a certain fun loving, green/blue-eyed boy who made me laugh simply by looking at me and saying “thanks for it” and who made me realize that having no emotions means you miss out on, well, life.

And so I’ve seen that goodbyes, in any language, just plain suck. But I’ve also come to learn that the deeper the pit in your stomach, the harder it is to fight back the tears as you walk away from the car and the more you find a smile creeping onto your face simply at the mention of a word that makes you think of “that time in Aix,” the more worth it those relationships are. It’s the stories, the too many bottles (or boxes!) of rosé, the Thursdays where you got sucked into the abyss of RoMarc’s apartment and didn’t wander out until 5am – all the while wondering “how did we stay that for that long?”; the games of “Never Have I Ever” where you really never have had a ménage-a-dix with an entire fraternity; the massive 4 scoops of gelato ice cream on the Cours Mirabeau simply because “well, we had a hard day, right?” It’s Crêpes A-Go-Go every Tuesday or seeing half of the AUCP at Book-in-Bar at any given point, at any given hour, on any given day, probably drinking tea and eating a scone; it’s talking ourselves into random purchases because, well, pourquoi pas?..then again, it’s justifying just about anything with pourquoi pas?! It’s been an envie d’ailleurs and an envie de revenir; swearing to a Sober Oktober only to jump right back into a glass of wine because, bien sûr, you can’t say no to Martine and Didier.

And as I sit here at my computer, I can’t even pick apart my memories because they all seem too fresh to harvest – to separate and put into words, into descriptions on a computer screen – they just seem like yesterday. So my stories, my mini-escapades will stay as one big film reel of souvenirs for a few days more…I have an 8 hour plane ride, after all, to sort through them. But I do see now that it’s true: It’s better to have loved. Every song ends, but we can still enjoy the music. We do things for the rush, the thrill, the story. If for nothing else, we do it for the experience. And I’m happy to have had this one, no matter how hard it is to leave.