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Be a Thing-Doer

As a kid, I didn’t do too much, so whenever I did, I would be sure to point it out. “I do things; I’m a thing-doer.” I said that every chance I got.

I seriously loved the non-word thing-doer, and in fact, I still do. Maybe it’s because I love to obscurely reference Everybody Loves Raymond (since that’s where “thing-doer” is from). Or maybe it’s because I like to sound a little childish sometimes. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much of my time, as many of us do, not really doing anything.

I know that last point might sound counter-intuitive, but I think it’s important to recognize when we (and others) do things in this world surrounded by distractions of all kinds and so many different ways to do nothing. Doing something is often so different from normal that sometimes it needs to be pointed out.

We have so much to get caught up in, whether it’s Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, TV, or any of the other thousand distractions we face. It can be hard to get up (or sit down, depending on the activity) and go do something.

Part of my thing-doing is writing for Youer than You. It’s a way that I feel like I can positively use my time, as opposed to watching an extra episode or two of Ally McBeal (the show I’m currently working my way through on Netflix).

Now, don’t get me wrong: taking a break is good, too. But just sitting down and watching ten hours of Netflix on a Saturday when you get a break from work and school isn’t necessarily the best way to take a break, if you ask me.

Our society has decided that spending hours and hours and hours and hours just sitting watching TV or looking through the Internet is a good use of our time, and I don’t necessarily agree.

Take a break from your binge and take a walk or go to your local coffee shop and hang out for a bit. Talk to someone. Write something. Draw something. Do something.

Maybe you’ll go to the beach and find out that you happened to show up on the day of a kite festival (that happened to me, as you can see above).

If it adds any credibility to what I’m saying, I am speaking from experience. Last year, I didn’t have many friends, and I couldn’t drive yet, so I was stuck at home most of the time. Instead of playing the flute or taking a walk or biking to my coffee shop or reading a book or writing a book, I frequently spent days in front of a TV for hours on end.

In the course of just under a year, I watched just about 75 seasons of television.

And surprising as it may be, it didn’t help at all. I sunk deeper into my stir-craziness and anxiety and depressive feelings and felt like I might literally go insane.

On the days that I did pull out my notebook and write a little, things were better. The time I grabbed my flute and found some sheet music for some of my favorite Christmas carols was one of the best days I had. When I did get a chance to ride my bike to the coffee shop, I was tired (it was two-and- a-half miles away, and I was out of shape), but it was nice.

Now that I’ve gotten some things a little more figured out in my life, I don’t watch Netflix nearly as much. Instead, I try to take that extra time and look outside, or go for coffee with a friend, or write down my weird thoughts in notes on my phone (that’s how these posts come about).

So next time you have some free time and you’re about to sit down and watch TV for six hours, think about it. And maybe, find something you can do. Be a thing-doer. I know that if I can, you can, too.

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