Actually, Quitters Can Be Winners

by Ryan

A Life Lesson from Zayn Malik

When Zayn Malik quit One Direction a couple of weeks ago I felt a lot of feels. Boy bands have the intrinsic capacity to make you feel feels, ya know? It must be something to do with their angelic falsettos and synchronized choreography and gleaming teeth and general suaveness. So on that fateful Wednesday in the library when word reached me that Zayn had quit the band, abandoning his best friends and his billions of fans and their new album and music altogether, I felt. Zayn was a a giver-upper and a selfish nimrod and a quitter and it enraged me and confused me and saddened me. My thoughts went something like this: Like, are you kidding me, Malik? Do you know how many girls are crying in school bathrooms right now because their beloved British boy band will never-ever be the same ever again? There’s a lot of girls crying in ratchet school bathrooms, Zayn. A lot of girls. Why would you do that do those girls? Why would you quit? And I went on like that silently cursing him in my mind all through lunch and most of fourth period.

Whilst my history teacher discussed Mao Zedong’s guerilla war tactics during his Long March and the rest of my classmates fervently took notes, I pondered Zayn. I pondered and pondered, intermittently cursed him, then pondered some more until finally I had a realization: Zayn is a twenty-one year old person. A person with dreamy brown eyes and really luscious hair and a cajillion fans and three albums and super sexy graffiti fetish, yes, but a person. And if a person is not happy a person has the right to fix that. A person has the right to put him or herself first. And if a person needs to quit to be happy, then that person has the right to quit.

It’s a weird concept to gage at first though, right? Like how can quitting possibly be a good thing? Isn’t quitting synonymous with being too lazy and weak to keep going, to push through? And I guess sometimes it can be that. Sometimes quitting is a product of laziness. But a lot of times it’s not. It’s okay to quit something--a sports team or a job or a relationship--if it makes you unhappy. Putting your own happiness first is important. Quitting can be a symbol of having the strength to stand up for your own wellbeing. So, Zayn, I'm bummed you're leaving, I really am. The whole One Direction dynamic will forever more be off-kilter and that is some upsetting stuff. But by quitting the band and preserving your happiness you taught me a hell of a lot more than I would have learned from another album about teenage heartbreak. 

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