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Lynn Morski: Quit Valentine’s Dread, not Valentine’s Day | Quit Happens

This time of year people are often either anticipating or dreading Valentine’s Day, depending on their relationship status.

Being able to poke fun of your singleness on Valentine’s day is one way to cope with the lack of a romantic Valentine with whom to share the day (see photo below), but many others have chosen to quit recognizing the day altogether.

Remember Liz Lemon from 30 Rock? She chose to celebrate Anna Howard Shaw day on the 14th instead. Others have rebranded it “singles awareness day.”

I’m no different. For the second year in recent past, I’ve purposely booked a red eye that leaves on the evening of Valentine’s Day just to take off any pressure. Cleverly disguised as a Valentine’s gift to self, of course.

But I have a suggestion. Instead of quitting Valentine’s day or finding some way to run from it or disguise it, how about we quit the dread associated with it?

Why? You may ask. Or, more likely, how???

Well as I recorded the intro to the podcast that I’m releasing tomorrow, I started by wishing listeners a happy Valentine’s Day…something I think the jaded me would never have done. But I’ve developed a gratitude practice that helps remind me of what I have to be grateful for instead of focusing on what I feel I lack…like an actual Valentine.

How this may sound like hippie mumbo jumbo, but I swear it works. I’m not dreading tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to getting to send love to everyone who’s made me feel loved this year.

And the list is not short. Did you read an article I wrote? Or purchase a copy of my book? Or encourage me when the pre-sale was rough? Or give me feedback on my podcast? Or say a generally encouraging thing during a tough time? Or participate in any of the activities that bring joy to my life?

Then you are my valentine.

I have great friends:)

Finding ways to send and receive love that aren’t romantic, and generally appreciating all those in your life who support you every day, are great means of turning Valentine’s Day from your greatest fear to yet another chance for celebration.

I’ll start early. You read this far? Guess what, per the above, you more than qualify. I love you!!! Happy Valentine’s Day:)

Quitting Bernie Sanders: One Delegate’s Journey

I remember the exact date I fell in love with Bernie Sanders. It was December 10, 2010.

That’s when I happened to tune into a 69-year-old white-haired senator from Vermont in the eighth hour of his famous filibuster against extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Fast forward to 2015: Bernie Sanders announced his bid for president. Elated, I volunteered with the San Diego for Bernie Sanders group, holding signs on interstate overpasses, making calls to voters, standing on street corners registering voters, and marching in parades, handing out stickers alongside a Tesla wrapped in Bernie logos.

I was even elected as a delegate for Bernie to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Yes, the Democratic National Convention. Because as you well know, to have a legitimate chance at the presidency, candidates have to pick a team.

More specifically, they have to choose between the blue team and the red team. Otherwise, they get relegated to a footnote. Just ask someone like Ralph Nader or Gary Johnson.

The further I got involved, however, the more it became apparent that the “Democratic” team had little interest in the candidate that passionate voters like me supported. The evidence was everywhere — from the lack of support from Democratic elected officials, to Tulsi Gabbard having to step down from her position as vice-chair of the DNC in order to support Bernie, to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s position that superdelegates exist to make sure party leaders aren’t challenged by “having to run against grassroots activists.

So by the time that Wikileaks released emails proving that DNC officials actively undermined Bernie Sanders’ campaign, no one in the Bernie camp was surprised. The emails, however, were released on the day we delegates were heading to Philadelphia to cheer on our anti-big-corporation hero at the Democratic National Convention — an event thrown by one of the two most powerful private corporations in the country, the DNC.

Ironic, right?

About as ironic as the “Democratic” Party leadership actively trying to prevent their own voters from opposing their chosen candidate.

And we all saw how things played out. Bernie lost the nomination and endorsed Clinton. After Clinton lost, and after hanging up his “D” and returning to his status as an independent senator, he almost inexplicably went on a “unity tour” with new DNC chairperson Tom Perez.

It was as if Bernie Sanders had some type of Stockholm Syndrome — playing nice with those who had treated him so unfairly in the entire election process.

So what were the dedicated Berners left to do? Bernie’s supporters were put in a position to have to choose between two bad outcomes. Trump wasn’t acceptable, but for those who truly believed in Sanders’ principles, neither was Clinton.

All we could do was focus on restructuring the rules of the game.

Because while Bernie is a great catalyst, this entire experience made me realize that political parties are not the vehicle for change. They all have a stake in enacting only the reforms that will benefit their side, but a true democracy should have electoral systems in place that benefit the people, regardless of their party affiliation (or lack thereof).

The political revolution has to come from outside — from the true independents.

We need election reforms that will decrease the power of the duopoly and increase competition while leveling the playing field for those running as independents or third-party candidates. We need our primary election process to serve the public, not just the two major parties, and we need to allow independent voters a voice in the primaries, not just in the general election.

Now there are many Berners still dedicating their time and resources to getting him to run again or to advancing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. And I understand why: many of us invested a lot in the movement and some may be finding it hard to quit.

I did. As an author, I just wrote a book about strategic quitting. And as I wrote the book, I began to realize maybe myself and the other Bernie die-hards could benefit from yet another strategic quit.

We have to quit thinking that Bernie Sanders can fix a political system that is rigged against true independence.

Now this doesn’t mean we should quit supporting the reforms he champions, like open primaries, campaign finance reform, and working outside the two-party system.

It does mean that we should work toward fixing the system that the two parties have rigged in their favor so that in the future, candidates that don’t fit into the two-party mold, whether a Bernie Sanders or a Ron Paul, don’t have to pick a team to be taken seriously.

If we really think that partisanship is a problem in the country, the first thing we need to do is quit partying. Stop putting our confidence in the two parties. Stop taking it for granted that our tax dollars should pay for their primaries. And most importantly, we need to stop thinking that good ideas come from only one side of the political aisle or the other.

What I’ve found out since I quit partying is that I’m able to learn from more people with widely varying viewpoints — more people with whom I can hold a political discussion. And I’ve had less anxiety from the false narrative that one side of America is at war with the other.

I’ve also found comfort in the fact that I don’t need to know the answer to every political woe. And I’ve found an appreciation for the fact that government itself isn’t supposed to be made up of men and women who hold all those answers, but of adults who can sit down at a table, talk to each other, and try and figure them out together.

I was sick and tired of partisan politics. So I quit. Maybe you should too.

 

Published on Medium.com here on January 17, 2017.

Originally published at ivn.us on November 27, 2017.

A Doctor, a Lawyer, and a Quitter Walk into a Bar…

No, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s just what happens every time I go into a bar. I have a medical degree and a law degree…and if there were a professional certification for quitting, I’d not only have it, but I’d display it in my office as proudly as I do the other two.

I consider myself an expert-level quitter, and it’s a distinction to which I firmly believe more people should aspire.

Why? Because quitting is the most underrated tool for achieving success not only in business, but in relationships, personal happiness and well-being. In fact, it’s one of the most underrated self-care tools out there.

The walls of Amazon’s virtual bookstore are overflowing with self-help books telling us to live our best lives. But rarely do they address one of the main reasons that people get stuck in something less than their best life: no one tells them how to get through the necessary quits to leave whatever isn’t working. They just tell you to transform your life and strive to make progress…until one day you’ve suddenly arrived at said ideal life.

And quitting ain’t easy.

It’s a process fraught with unwarranted stigma -partially thanks to unhelpful sayings like “quitters never win and winners never quit.” And if you can get past the stigma, you’re then smacked in the face with many of the fears associated with quitting, like wondering if another opportunity will arise to replace whatever you’re leaving, or wondering what people will think about your quitting, or fear that the new scenario you find post-quit won’t truly be more fulfilling than the original one.

It’s enough to make someone just stay put. Stuck in the less-than-ideal.

But it doesn’t have to be. Quitting can be your best friend. But not just regular old quitting. Strategic quitting.

Now I could tell you theoretically about why strategic quitting is the greatest thing since avocado toast, but I think it will be slightly more effective if I show you what it looks like in the real world. Because at this point you may be (understandably) wondering how someone with both medical and law degrees has ever quit anything.

I quit all the time.

Because what does it take to get through that much school and training? Time, money, and energy. How was I able to make sure I had enough of all three to get through? By quitting things that were draining my time/money/energy and focusing only on the things that served me.

So what does it look like in action? Before medical school, I was a multimedia designer, but the sinking feeling I got while sitting in coding classes learning new programming languages told me this was not the field for me — so I quit. I started completely fresh and decided to try to get into medical school.

And after I finished medical school and residency in family medicine, I finally got to my sports medicine fellowship, as I had decided I wanted to be a sports doc. However, I got that same feeling when I was doing sports medicine — like something just wasn’t right. Mostly I didn’t like that the hours were somehow both 9 to 5 and nights and weekends, leaving little time for myself.

Wilma the Wildcat

 

So I quit. Again.

At this point you may be thinking, “whoa…but what about all of that time and money you wasted on medical school?” Well that’s where strategic quitting comes in. With regular quitting, I would have walked away from medicine altogether and tried some other career that may have had all the same attributes I disliked about medicine.

But with strategic quitting, you take stock of exactly what parts of a job or relationship, etc. aren’t working for you, and quit only those…and you stay vigilant not to get in new situations that have features that didn’t work for you previously. And as long as you learned something from a past situation, it wasn’t a waste.

So I quit the long hours of sports medicine, and took a job where I make my own schedule. And in the future, you can bet that I won’t be taking any new jobs that have night or weekend hours, because I learned from my previous experience. And as for the money and time I spent? Well having spent a lot of time or money on something that isn’t working for you is a terrible reason to spend more time or money on it. Sticking it out doesn’t get you back your investment, it just gets you further from where you want to be.

Now you may be plenty happy in your job or relationship, but what about some smaller things that may be stressing you out?

Here’s another real-life example. I finished yoga teacher training last year, and during my training I had an unlimited membership to the yoga studio. However, shortly after receiving my instructor certification, I started volunteering with a political campaign and didn’t have time to go often enough to make the membership worth the money, which started to stress me out. Yes, you heard that right, yoga was stressing me out.

Yoga with Bernie

So what did I do? Did I quit yoga? Obviously not! I just quit the unlimited membership and switched to a class card, thereby taking away all the guilt and stress I felt over not being able to make it to class as much as I needed to.

Now look at your own life…is there something that brings you stress or causes a sinking feeling in your stomach? Is your body subtly trying to tell you to make a change by giving you heartburn or keeping you awake at night? As a doctor, I can tell you the effects of staying in something that is wrong for you are not minimal. Stress is a leading health risk these days, and a major cause of stress is doing something that’s not in line with your own personal good.

So if your job doesn’t light you up, or your relationship brings you anxiety, or your city just isn’t working for you anymore, I urge you to make close friends with strategic quitting before your body stops whispering to you and starts yelling in the form of chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

Strategic quitting is the self-care tool you never knew you needed, but that you’ll never give up once you’ve got it down.

Feeling stuck? Know there's a better life out there but not sure what's standing in your way? Let me send you the Top 5 Signs There’s Something You Need to QUIT!
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