1. That slippery slope
Last year I took my TV and stuck it in the closet. I figured “out of sight, out of mind” and since it was a time in my life when I felt strongly about modeling healthy behavior and since I had a lot going on in the evenings, it was easy to forget that it was lurking a few feet away behind a couple of flimsy louvered doors.
Instead of tuning in to one of the two channels that I actually get with the rabbit ears on the top of the set (yes, there is no cable in my house, no microwave, no automatic coffee maker), I knit socks and listened to music, I worked hard on a journal that I was writing and painting in. I cooked. I read. I wandered about the house a bit but my mind was mine.
I did miss movies though and thanks to my then 17 year old son, found out that I could watch them on my computer. It’s a tiny screen but if you sit close enough, who cares? A couple of nights each week, we would sit together and watch a movie and then turn the computer off. He taught me how I could stream them, which increased the number of viewing options I had exponentially.
One evening as I sat waiting for him to come home from an evening out, I decided I was tired and didn’t have enough energy to be creative or even to concentrate on my book so I went online and selected a movie and watched it by myself. When it was over, I started an online Scrabble game just to pass the time; an occupation I had discovered during a time in my life when mental distraction was necessary to my sanity. When I heard the door open, I closed the computer before I could be “caught”.
The number of evenings when I was too tired to be creative started to increase after that. I was still secretive about my watching habits. If no one knew, it didn’t seem to be quite as dangerous a transgression and after all, the TV was still in the closet. I wasn’t watching every day and what the heck, I was tired at night.
From a friend, I found that a couple of TV shows that I had watched could be found on the internet. This was getting dangerous. The number of shows and movies that caught my attention could now easily entertain me every night of the week if I allowed them to. Luckily, summer came and the afternoon sunshine turned into early evening sunshine. The porch was open and the frogs were singing their sex songs. I was being entertained by nature and my computer use stopped.
It is now fall again. The evenings are getting dark and sometimes I have to light a fire to keep the house warm. The computer is out on the table in the living room because it’s my only source of music at the moment. I have watched a couple of movies at night. I haven’t yet taken out my knitting and my journal is hidden deep in the case I use to haul it around.
Before the cold gets too deep and the nights too dark, I have a decision to make about my time. I know what I want to do. I know what would make me feel good about myself. I know that time wasted is never returned. I know that what you practice, you become.
I know that sometimes I am too tired to be creative and that watching movies can be fun.
Decisions can be made day by day as long as my practice is intentional. More on that in part 2.