(349/366) Exit Strategies

December 14, 2012 – Just as with life, every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But the end isn’t always easy to find, it isn’t always obvious. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right exit strategy. Unfortunately, sometimes the story ends too soon and leaves you lost and wanting.

In my work I’ve encountered the concept of exit strategies. When an enhancement program is undertaken, unless it is one for a fishery for economic benefits, there should be an end to the program. If the goal is to rebuild a stock, then eventually there should be a measure of success at which point the program is wound down and nature takes its own course. If success isn’t forthcoming, then a decision to end the program and undertake other means of stewardship may be in order.

As the year comes to a close, and with the emotional pain of loss still fresh, I’ve been thinking a lot about exits and endings. When we undertake a course of action, a project, anything, it’s realistic to realize that at some point things should come to an end. That the book should be closed eventually. We should think about the exit point right at the start. What is our personal measure of success? When can we consider that we have done all that we needed to do when we set out on a path, on a course of action?

There are lots of things that I’ve undertaken that had a defined end, but there are other things that I just keep on rolling with and that eventually become wearing and more challenging rather than less. It usually happens because the shine wears off, the fun disappears, or the reward starts to be overshadowed by the cost.

I’ve spent three years doing a photo-a-day and in the past months it has become more of a task than a pleasure. It’s become harder to be creative with a camera as it has become a chore to determine what to take a photo of. I have other cameras I want to use, film that I want to process, but it isn’t being done because the commitment to the 365 project has become tedious and I want it to end. Maybe I’ll just do a 52 next year and that will give me more opportunity to play again. That’s an easy exit strategy. No one is counting on me for anything, no one will be put out that I won’t post a photo every day, because no one is expecting anything from me, no one is waiting on anything.

There are other things I am realizing that I need to say goodbye to, but it’s difficult to figure out how to move towards an appropriate exit strategy after so many years of involvement. Eventually you realize that you are just going through the motions and you need to bow out and exit gracefully.

The New Year is a time of transition, a time for change. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s time to close the door on some activities and embark on some new ones.

Some stories drag on too long and just need to come to a gracious end.