Quitting = Not an Option
Sometimes quitting seems to be the easiest path. I’m not going to lie there are things that I have quit over the years. Quitting feels like failing although they aren’t necessarily the same thing or that we are stopping because we failed. When I was younger my grandparents wanted me to take up playing the electric organ, as they had done with my father when he was young. So, they bought me a tricked-out Hammond Organ with a cassette player and all on it, but I hated practicing it from the beginning. I could never learn or play music as quickly on the organ as I could on the guitar, so after three years I quit to my grandparents’ dismay. After stopping the keyboard studies, I did throw myself into guitar even more and continued to advance with great instructors. Another time I quit something was when my father passed away in 1984 from cancer I totally stopped playing music for a while since it was a bond that we shared. It was obviously a mistake since playing guitar would have helped bring me around sooner and I’m thankful that Jay Eastlick forced me into playing again. I know through my own actions that I have quit things because they felt too hard, took too much time or I couldn’t excel at the pace I expected to. Back when I was a little kid my parents would sign me up for all the Optimist sports available including: Baseball, Football and Basketball. I was horrible at all of them but once I was signed up and they paid the fees I had to finish the seasons. In hindsight, I believe my fellow teammates probably wish I had quit, thankfully my parents wouldn’t allow me to. When quitting becomes a habit then it almost resembles a character trait and I don’t believe that is good for any of us. I began playing music at Senior centers back in Las Vegas while my Grandma Dahl was residing in an Alzheimer’s facility. It always felt good to give back in that way for the residents and caregivers and sometimes my daughter would join me. We started doing the same here in Nashville and last year I was considering quitting. I conjured up a list of reasons including how hard it was to get my daughter to join in, the practice to prepare and hauling the music gear in and out of the centers while doing it all for free. So, my wife had scheduled what I planned to be the last one and something happened. On this particular day at the Meadows the residents were really enjoying it and their families spoke with me afterwards about how much it meant to them and their parents and they saw a side of their parents they hadn’t seen in years. That told me that I couldn’t stop playing the Senior Centers and it was something bigger and more meaningful than me. I recently interviewed John Ondrasik, Five for Fighting, for an upcoming Rock & Review. We discussed how he considered himself to be a twenty-year instant success and John works hard at his music for concerts, TV, film and still helps with his family’s business at Precision Wire! It made me consider my challenges doing the Rock & Review. Numerous times I have considered quitting the interviews because they are hard to schedule, take lots of pre-preparation (at home), scheduling them to air and some other Departments in the station aren't the biggest fans of entertainment pieces. But then what will stop me dead in my tracks, and negative thoughts, is an artist will thank me profusely after the interviews. They’ll express how much they appreciation me listening to their music and giving them a deeper interview then they achieve from other interviewers. Quitting seems easier in the hard moments but can we live with the repercussions of what hole that is left after we do quit? Also for your consideration if we quit and throw in the towel who else are we affecting in a negative way that we could have helped? It isn’t, and can’t be, all about ourselves all the time. If we believe in what we are doing and feel that it is doing good for others and serves others in a positive manner then quitting really can’t be an option. I can certainly say in the case of playing Senior Centers, playing Church, the Rock & Review and Acme Radio interviews I feel better about myself by doing them. The benefit I reap is that they make me a better person inside. The Pros far outweigh
the Cons ir-regardless of material gains. Quitting bad habits that effect our health adversely is something totally different. But if we are considering quitting something that helps others and makes us feel better as humans then I think we must look at the bigger picture and determine if, Yes, maybe it is worth the hardships and pushing the heavy rock up the hill. In the end if we don’t strive to help our fellow man then who will and what if our mentors and guiding people in our lives had quit on us? Maybe some of the good things must be harder to achieve so that we appreciate them more and don’t take them for granite? None of us want to be labeled a “Quitter” and we also don’t want to set a poor example for our families or others that we may not even realize are watching and seeing what we do and how we conduct ourselves. Quitting electric organ was probably a good choice, but we can’t quit positive behavior just because it requires more effort!