A resolution early this year went better than expected and gave me the courage to start this whole “Quitting Thursdays” thing.

I lose track of things. I don’t think this makes me unique. Maybe it does regarding what I lose track of but I think the act of losing track isn’t particularly uncommon. The thing is, in the past it’s been garden variety stuff like my car keys, the remote or my wife’s birthday (I’ll never do that again). But today, I find I’m losing track of things I’ve quit. The peculiar part is that it’s a good thing.

If you’ve ever given up on something you know what I mean when I say that once you quit one thing it’s easier to quit another thing. Usually and unfortunately quitting has a negative connotation. I quit the team. I quit going to church. I quit putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher (Again, I’ll never do that again). The thing is, quitting isn’t good.

All our lives we’ve had this pounded into our heads. “Don’t quit.” “Don’t ever give up.” “Stick with it!” Whoever knew quitting could be such a beautiful thing?

This year I quit television in March. It’s November and I’ve never gone back. Now, full disclosure, I’ve watched t.v. a few times since then (sports usually) but I’ve never gone back to the part-time job that TV. was for me. I literally spent an average of two to three hours, sometimes more, (which is silly to say because that’s how you arrive at an average, right? Of course there’s times that were less and times that were more) in front of the television every night. I’d like to say that I just rose up and said “No more! I’m taking back my life dammit! I will no longer be a slave to this infernal beast!!” No, it was hardly that dramatic. I quit for Lent and honestly, just to see if I could.

Sometimes I view my life as a science experiment. I’m not sure if it’s because I get bored with the routine or have some sort of masochistic leaning but I look at what I do and where I do it kind of like a giant Petri dish. My hair-brained ideas are the small bacteria that I inoculate into the medium and as it colonizes its influence spreads. This was an inoculation that wasn’t nearly as disruptive as I thought it would be. I envisioned twitchiness and feelings of “What in the heck am I going to do with myself?” that just never materialized. What did happen was I found other, better things to do. One of which was organizing closets.

All right, all right, yes, I know this makes me a freak and a major thorn in my wife’s side but I’m telling you, don’t knock it until you try it. You and I both know that unless you’re one of the 17.63% of people that are anal retentive or have an OCD leaning in this direction we all need to do a massive Eminem-esque cleaning out of our closets. I did and I started where I should have, with my own. Once I had that beast tamed I moved on to various cupboards and drawers (doesn’t everyone have a junk drawer or six?) and I threw away massive amounts of crap that was just so unnecessary. The lack of time spent on TV. freed up time to do this but it also steered me back to reading.

When I was in grade school in rural Nebraska our one-room schoolhouse (yes, one room without running water) obviously did not have a library. Our school, along with others, was provided books by the Bookmobile. The Bookmobile was a motor home that had been gutted and had book shelves installed from floor to ceiling and was filled with all kinds of books for kids. It came around every two weeks and we could check out 6 books each time. I read these voraciously. I read them so quickly that I would ask one of the other eight kids in our school (yes, eight, from K-Sixth grade) if I could read theirs. I had my favorite authors and would request more books by them if they weren’t on the bookmobile. Then there was the summer reading program.

The Bookmobile came to a nearby school that was closer to the highway every two weeks and you could check out six books and participate in some sort of fun tracking program. One year I think each book represented so many miles and you charted your course around the globe. I think I circled the earth twice or something. So, duh, I liked to read. All that gradually went away after college and was replaced by other things like t.v.; until it wasn’t.

Thing is because of the success of quitting t.v.. I’ve been encouraged to quit other things and in fact construct this grand mega-petri dish experiment called quitting Thursdays. As you’ve read in previous weeks I’ve quit all kinds of stuff. So far most of it has been the bad stuff, stuff I, like most of us, have that’s just not good for me. I have quite a few things to quit to sort of clean out my life-closet but I’m encouraged. The experiment is going well and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

Ever quit anything or make a change whose results surprised you? I bet it’s a good story that others would find interesting. Share it below. We’d love to hear it and who knows it might encourage someone to quit something! 


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