This year has been a year of sorting the wheat from the chaff. What’s important in my life? What am I doing that I could happily give up? What can I do to move more quickly towards retirement? What do I want to do once I’m retired? These are all questions that deserve consideration.
In keeping with my desire to economize and save towards retirement, I decided to cancel my cable television. Simple decision, yes? Although I cancelled at the end of August, the cable company didn’t get around to cutting me off until part way through the Thanksgiving weekend in October. Then the craziness started. I felt cut off from the world. No news. I used to watch 2-3 versions of the news each evening. Oh, how I missed Peter Mansbridge!
My Friday evening routine was disrupted as well. I used to come home, pour a glass of wine, make a leisurely dinner and watch mindless telly until bedtime. What was I going to do now?
I’ve been practicing life without television for a month now. I can’t say that I never long for the easy entertainment of that medium—I still feel twinges of desire from time to time. But I’m discovering that I get much more done around my home now. I’ve read more than 30 books in the last month. I’ve cleaned and purged and organized formerly dingy corners of the house. I eat supper at the dining room table, not on the chesterfield. I’ve written letters and made phone calls. I’m getting more sleep (once you can’t hold your attention on the page, it becomes obvious that it’s time to go to bed—quite unlike the mindlessness of TV). I still have more projects to get to—and without television I think I will have time to conquer them.
I’m unsure if this is a permanent way of life, at this point. My poor old telly is incompatible with DVD or Blu-ray players. Nor is it digital, so I can’t even watch local programming. It does seem ironic that in order to watch DVDs, I will have to buy a new TV. It’s kind of a counterintuitive purchase for someone who is trying to give up the boob tube. When the end-of-the-year sales happen, I will assess what the new technology will cost me. And who knows, maybe my cable company will miss my monthly payments and offer me a deal?
But I have to say, I hope I can stay TV-free. I’m starting to enjoy my new routines. I love the reading, the cooking, the time to think and plan, the music that I’m listening to and the improved sleep. Perhaps, when I reorganize the living room to accommodate the Christmas tree, it will be time for the television to be banished to a recycling centre.