About 3 months ago I cancelled my cable. I don’t watch T.V. anymore. For a long time now I have realized that the idiot box was taking up way too much of my time and energy and I got tired of the paying for the privilege of watching the same 90’s movies and “reality” (or as I like to call it AWDQ – attention whore drama queens) T.V. I freed up $1200 a year.
Everyone complains about not having enough time. Now that my TV is gone (physically the TV is still here, my son plays video games on it and we do check out movies from the library) what I have discovered is a wealth of time. And I think many more people would find more time if they gave up their mind-numbing bad habits (mine was TV and I bet for the majority of others, it is also TV, but your’s could be different). I know that there are people out there that are really strapped for time, working 2 jobs, taking care of small children, etc. I get it. But for most of us it’s not that we don’t have enough time (though that’s our excuse), it’s that we aren’t mindful of how we are spending our time (mindfulness is a word that keeps popping up for me). You sit down for just a minute to relax, catch the news and then you’ll be productive. Problem is, you get sucked into the meaningless garbage and become unaware that 4 hours just flew by and it’s time to go to bed. So the problem isn’t really time, or lack of.
I read somewhere that people who watch a lot of TV enter into a sort of low-grade depression. I don’t find this hard to believe. Most shows are not upbeat. And even if they are, watching them is a passive activity and I don’t think a fulfilling, meaningful life comes from being passive. Life is about doing – doing things that challenge you, that make you move, that are fun, that contribute to the well-being of others – in others words, being involved.
Sure, when the TV first went blank on that fateful day, I did spend my fair share of time on the internet. But then I started getting more involved with my life, asking myself the big questions like how do I really want to spend my days, what is really important to me and what can I do without. It’s led me to two very big changes. The first is that while working a full-time job I have decided to start a small business. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I have tried before but I let my fears get in the way. I’m taking baby steps but I am moving forward. The books by Robert Fritz (The Path of Least Resistance and You’re Life as Art are two good ones) have really helped me frame it – it’s not about me, it’s about bringing something that I love into being.
The other change is I spend more time cooking. I’ve always loved to bake, but cooking, especially in the days when I was catering to very different tastes and having my own preferences mocked, didn’t bring me joy. Now I am having fun trying different flavors and creating nutritious meals from scratch, watching my freezer fill up with the fruits of my labor. I am excited for spring to come so I can buy my produce in season from local businesspeople at the Farmer’s Market. I will learn how to preserve what I can’t use right away. My first experiment will be in making my own yogurt using a crock pot. Maybe this winter I’ll be eating my own yogurt sweetened with fruit that I have preserved from summer’s harvest. How sweet will that be?
Very sweet, indeed.