Use It Or Lose It


You can use it or you can lose it

Whenever I hear the phrase, “Use it or lose it” I think about losing brain cells. That is, if you don’t use your brain, your cells will dry up and you will lose some of your brain power. This is why I am an advocate for learning and education and for kids graduating from high school. They need to keep those brain cells growing.

This same phrase may have a different meaning for you.


You already know that if don’t use your muscles, you will lose them. There are a lot of middle age and elderly men around who know all about that. They can be identified by a stomach that wants to escape from the body and is fast on its way by protruding over the fence or belt.

I would be the last one to make fun of anyone’s weight but the fact is that men have not done their fair share of sit-ups and this is why those muscles in the stomach have taken a vacation and got lost. It’s as if your body is saying, “Muscles, what muscles? I don’t see any muscles. I must have lost them.”


Within the past week, I have seen a number of cars that have lost their way and ended up in a ditch. Why? We have had a few bursts of snow and ice and those drivers just forgot what it is like to drive on slippery roads. They have lost their way because they have not used those driving on ice and snow skills since last winter. All of us have found our share of ditches over the years because we just lacked the practice.


Do you feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to do the things you want to do? Do you wish you could put the clock on hold and just keep it stopped until you finished some things you wanted to do? I am trying to do more reading this year. I made it an unwritten resolution. There are so many books in my library and every time I walk past them, I get this feeling that they are calling out to me, “John, please read me. Please, read me.” I wake up in the middle of the night with my old high school librarian, Miss Bishop, standing at the foot of my bed with an angry look. You never wanted to cross Miss Bishop so I am using more time to read. I haven’t seen Miss Bishop now for several weeks.

If there are projects you really want to get done, take time to do them today. If you don’t use the time, you will lose the time and as we know, you can’t ever get it back. It’s lost forever.

Commitments and Promises

I have been fasting for about ten weeks. Well, not exactly. I fast only on Wednesdays. I go the entire day without eating. Around mid afternoon my brain begins to tell me, “Your hungry, go get some cheese curds.” Boy, do I want to but I know if I do, that will be it. My commitment to myself will be broken, lost. When you make a commitment to yourself or a promise to someone else and then you break it, it’s over. You have lost the opportunity to gain someone’s trust and it damages your self respect. Once you lose someone’s trust, it’s hard to get it back.  The lesson here is, make your commitments and promises to yourself and to others wisely. When you do make them, keep them.


I used to play the trumpet. I could play “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”. That was the one song I could play. But I was more interested in scoring touchdowns than hitting high notes so I quit. Bad mistake. I lost my ability to play. If you play the piano, don’t stop. If you sing, don’t stop. If you dance, don’t stop. Why? You will lose those skills and you will regret it some day.

Sense of Humor

I believe we are all born to laugh. Kids laugh hundreds of times a day. Adults laugh far, far less. What happened to our sense of humor? I guess we lost it along the way when we didn’t use it. With all of the issues and stress we face, maybe it’s just too tough to maintain. I enjoy writing humorous things it’s not easy to be a comic writer. Kids, on the other hand, don’t have a problem with writing humorous things even though they don’t make any sense. Here’s the secret. Tell someone a joke at least three times a week. Use your sense of humor; don’t lose it. Your joke for today is,  “What is the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?” Answer, “The Zippo is a little lighter.”


I was brought up with the notion that when you received new clothes, you were to save them for good. To this day when my wife asks me why I haven’t worn that new sweater she gave me for Christmas? I say, “Well, I am saving it for good.”  When and what is “good”? I look at some of my clothes and I think I could provide a wardrobe for a 1980’s play. Then when I do wear it, my wife says, “Are you wearing that old thing. It’s way out of style.” She’s right. I have to use the clothes or lose them to a clothing drive.

Use it or lose it doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes you can use something and still lose it. For example, I purchased two Power Ball tickets for the billion-dollar lottery thinking that my chances were pretty good of winning even though the odds were one in two hundred and fifty million.  I used my lottery tickets but I still lost. I must have done something wrong.

The idea for this column came from a loyal reader. I thought I better quickly use the idea before I would lose it.

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57 Responses to “Use It Or Lose It”

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