Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The silence is golden

Just tickled pink right now! I turned the tv on a little while ago, thinking that the kids hardly ever get to see some of the morning shows on PBS because we just haven't been turning the tv on lately except in the afternoon when their favorite shows are on. Frankly, *I'VE* missed Curious George! Lol! So I just looked and after less than one show, Tyren moved into the big room (away from the tv) to read his current book. LOVE it! And since Maeven's no longer in there watching, I just turned the darn thing off.

Most of the time I'm the only one that turns the tv on and I just haven't been doing it much lately. We kicked the network tv habit years ago when we used to have it on ALL.THE.TIME when the kids were little and apparently we've kicked the PBS habit now and only watch deliberately for specific shows.

I'm not anti-tv. I'm just anti-keeping-the-darn-thing-on-all-the-time.

I had a serious tv problem when I was single. I literally couldn't go to sleep without the tv. Well maybe not literally...but it was a bad habit I started and never tried to stop. I was ok with it. And back then, living alone, it was fine.

But I got a job in the woods (SCICON Outdoor School) for a year at a place where we lived and worked where there wasn't ANY tv reception. NONE. Anything we wanted to watch had to be on VHS. And I got used to not watching tv EVER. And when I went home to my parents house for weekend visits, I always felt weird watching tv. Awkward. It wasn't really enjoyable anymore, it was insidious. And just dumb. The advertisements were so creepy how manipulative they were...how they were shaping our tastes and our desires and I don't like being manipulated! I never noticed how bad it was until that year when I didn't see ANY, except on rare occasions. Then they irritated the crap outta me and I thought "How the HELL did I watch this crap all the time before??"

Then I moved back to civilization and fell back into the habit. Because that's exactly what it is...a habit. And for some people that are fine with the habit, that's fine...but I wasn't. Especially after I had a taste of what it was like without that habit. And what a world it opened up for me. I read more books than I'd read in years! I wrote so much in my journal, and I socialized a LOT with friends and family. Had I lived that life longer, I probably would've started pursuing hobbies. But I didn't, and I got sucked right back into the lifestyle once I had access to tv 24/7 again.

But I never forgot how truly wonderful it felt without it. And I never forgot how much more REAL my activities were without tv.  And then I had kids. And I had a reason to kick the habit again, but not the willpower.

I've learned that for me personally, willpower really doesn't work. I can't will myself to do what I want or feel I need to do. Something has to click somewhere and then it just naturally seems to fall into place. And I just wasn't getting there with my tv "problem"...because to me, that's what it was...I really didn't WANT to feel so compelled to have the darn thing on all the time. Something else was in control of me...I literally couldn't NOT turn the darn thing on! It was sorta like an addiction. Though not exactly because I never had any sort of withdrawals when I went off of tv for that year...but I truly felt COMPELLED to watch when I was around it. I didn't like that. I don't like something else having control over me. That's just a yucky feeling, seriously.

It took me years to kick the habit again...and it wasn't a deliberate process. I had a second child and I was still watching Oprah and Dr Phil...and for a time I watched soap operas! UGH! Who WAS I?? But when I started realizing my children were old enough to be taking in the content...when I started to realize that I could no longer get away with watching Two and a Half Men and never have any questions about the jokes they made...when I realized that my children were going to eventually ask me what a 3-way was or what sex was....I realized I had to start being more careful about what I watched...and I stopped watching inappropriate sitcoms and crime shows when they were awake.

Then I'm really not aware of how it happened but tv just started petering out of our lives. It wasn't some big thing, it just fizzled out.  It just became unimportant. The control wasn't there anymore. No idea how I reached that point, but it just happened. I guess there were just too many other things in my life pulling at me for me to even deal with having time to sit and veg like I used to.

Then I was limiting my children to only watch PBS or something I rented or streamed online that I hand picked. For awhile we did have PBS on all the time too...but at least it was quality programming, I told myself...but eventually that started to bother me too. Why do we need it on all the time? Why do they need constant noise? What's wrong with silence?

So I started just not putting it on. And they almost never asked for it! I would get really angry with Adam if he dared to put the damn thing on...and luckily he never was a huge tv guy to begin with, so he stopped putting it on or even sitting by it. And the kids found other things to do. (Like playing on the computer...don't get me started there...but that's a whole 'nother thing and I do have a good handle on it, for the most part, with the Times Up Kidz timer and rules about having to earn time.)

They really do find other things to do. And tv isn't a big part of their lives. But it's not NOT a part of their lives either. I'm ok with tv being in their lives in moderation...all things in moderation. But obsessions really bother me. Unhealthy habits bother me. Especially when they start to rule our lives. And having to have the tv on all the time (MY obsession) was really making me feel bad about my life and what I was providing for my kids.

Others are fine with it...and that's fine, of course. I wasn't. I didn't like how it made me feel like my brain was melting and oozing out my ears. (I used to say that a lot, LOL!)

Something just occurred to me....I know that I don't like obsessing on tv shows...I am ok with a handful, but I just feel like there is SO much more to life than the make believe on tv. I need to live MY life, not vicariously through all the fictional characters and plots out there. And there's not enough time in life to begin with!

This is what I've just figured out:  What am I saying about MY life, if I have to always escape? What's wrong with my life if its entirely built around escaping my life??  A little escape now and then, sure, no problem. We all need that. But constantly?? Too much. Just too too much for me.

So I was very happy to see Tyren choose a book over tv today...and I'm happy that he's very excited to go play with friends today and so am I. The tv was on for a total of about 30min today, and it's sitting silently again. And I can hear the wind chimes outside my door, and I can hear my son digging in lego in the other room, and I can hear the silence that is making me do this thinking. Sometimes I like to put music on, and that's a wonderful thing too...but sometimes you just need to have silence. And be ok in the silence. I don't want my kids constantly having to fill in the silence with artificial things. I want them to be ok with silence and sit with it and be with it ...to be ok with just being with themselves and their thoughts. I'm not sure exactly how that works...but it feels good, and I follow what feels good. :)

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