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Have something worth giving up for 90 days?

There’s a stop sign near where I live. It’s only a few years old, put there by the request of the neighborhood and in a place you wouldn’t expect a stop sign. But it’s still there, plain as day. And it’s still a stop sign, red with eight sides and everything.

It’s interesting to watch the drivers passing through and their reaction, or lack thereof. I go out to grab my mail and I see a vehicle breeze right through without dropping speed. Later, I realize I forgot something in my car, and while I’m out there I see a driver reduce speed but never really stop. As I get in my car to run an errand, the driver comes to ... could it be? ... a complete stop.

I don’t know anything else about these drivers, and I couldn’t recall the vehicle makes and models if you offered me $1 million. But I feel like I somewhat know their character, based on what they did when they didn’t think anybody was watching — or, at least, knowing they wouldn’t get a citation. Turns out 1 of 3 people did the right thing.

This Labor Day Weekend marked a rather insignificant event for you and me, but it did happen to a favorite celebrity and it ended up in Time magazine. Comedian Patton Oswalt decided in May he would quit Twitter for three months because he didn’t like the person he’d become.

Oswalt, for the most part, gave up social networking. He only used his social media to promote shows and films. Didn’t respond to people, didn’t post interesting links he found. He wrote that he lost 15 pounds and built a garden for his daughter, then admitted he actually spent the first week silently lurking and really just ended up using his cell phone less.

I’ve been there, in smaller ways. I decided around a year ago I would stop using Facebook on Fridays, and while I’ve cheated a little, I think stepping away makes me a better user when I step back in.

I’m not Catholic, but I decided to give up something for Lent to support a friend who was. She gave up coffee, I gave up processed sweets. I didn’t drop much weight because the loophole allowed me to eat whatever cakes, cookies and candies I make myself, but I started eating healthier when I discovered I liked my peanut butter and brownies better than Peter Pan and Little Debbie.

But 90 days? That’s 2.25 Lents. I wondered, “Can I do that? What’s worth 2.25 times Lent to me?”

I don’t need to stop using Facebook, but there’s probably an area in my life where I need to stop and I just keep on going. And there are other areas when I just reduce my speed when I know I need to stop.

Maybe there’s an area in your life. Sweets? Netflix? Gambling? Drugs? Pornography? Maybe that sounds like a good weekend, but I have doubts it creates a fulfilling life.

I don’t know what my vice is quite yet, but I’m going to hit the stop sign for 90 days. See how I feel in December. Decide if it’s something I give up for three months in 2015, or maybe all of 2015. I’m not going to tell anyone what I pick, so I can be like those drivers who don’t think anybody’s watching. What are my odds of succeeding? Probably 1 in 3, based on the stop sign I see every day.

I like those odds.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email:

[email protected]

 
 
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