March 23, 2008

media cleansed

matt_andrea_yellow.jpg
Matt and Andrea, field of yellow, Half Moon Bay, CA Canon Rebel Xti

Matt and I have been on a media cleanse for the last week. This means that we didn't watch any television or movies and did minimal email checking, internet surfing and phone calls. The purpose of this experiment was simply to have a consciousness around our habits, to see what the impulse was to plug in, what drove the habitual (sometimes obsessive) behavior. What was the feeling that preceded the moment when I would reach for the tv, the internet, the phone? was it loneliness? boredom? What was so scary about simply being in the moment I was in? I was also really curious about what would show up in the space where those other things were.

Let me begin by saying that I am amazed at how much it changed our lives in only one week.

Matt and I have been complaining for the last two years (since we moved into our house) that there is no room for a dining table in our home. (We actually have a dining table but we use it as a work table in the office) We complain about this problem regularly and are a little embarrassed to have people over for dinner because it means we all have to sit on the carpet around the coffee table.

After a mere two days of no tv, we had a major revelation. It occurred to us for the very first time that if we got rid of our television we would have plenty of room for a dining table. How did this not even cross our minds before?! The matrix had us!

We sold the television yesterday to our neighbor. As radical as that would have sounded last week, it was the easiest choice in the world. We are giddy with the thought of our new living room and all of the beautiful meals we will have, the friends we will sit and drink wine with at our new table, and most importantly, the attention we will have again for each other. It's a whole new life, truly.

Honestly, I didn't think I was such a tv or internet junkie until I put in on pause for the week. I was amazed to see how much time I spend keeping up on things that aren't ultimately very important. I am feeling cleaner somehow, more grounded, less cluttery in my mind, more together... like my life is more in line with who I want to be, and how I want to be living my life. There is more music and less noise. Both in my head and in my home.

This week I created more time to breathe, more room to think new thoughts and more space to be creative again. It turns out I am full of ideas, projects, paintings, poety. I am full of homecooked meals, homemade blankets and spontaneous dance parties. I am full of backgammon and scrabble, wine with good friends and hikes in the woods. I am full of dreams and travel and books I want to write.

Did any of you join me in this little experiment? What did you discover? Not to overstate this, but I discovered a whole new life that was right under my nose all this time. I am very excited about it.

Posted on March 23, 2008 08:16 PM
Comments

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Posted by: Faith at March 29, 2008 01:24 AM

My husband has been wanting to get rid of our tv for months! It does take up our whole living room. Maybe it's time to give it away. We were thinking about buying an upright piano and sticking it in the tv's place. It's time to start the family band!

Posted by: Kate at March 28, 2008 08:26 AM

Great news, Andrea! Kim mentioned this to me last night. We've been on a media diet for a year or more now, though recently I've slipped back into listening to NPR while driving. It helps that we've never subscribed to cable tv and happen to live in a reception vortex, so the only tv screen time we have is with netflix movies, currently down to 2 per month.

I think you get the biggest impact out of not watching / listening to news. The news is always presented as a series of problems that you can't solve, sometimes with a lighter story thown into the mix so you don't jump off a bridge. News (and other shows) quickly becomes compulsive, not least because "everyone else" is keeping up with it all. News is negative because fear sells. Culturally we're in a state of seeking out stories of strife and struggle. We see stories of success or goodwill as less exciting, or less imperative.

I often find myself at my job listening to people talk about things like Lost or names of reality show stars, and I can't say I miss it. In fact media fasting is like food fasting in that way: you can go without, but it sometimes hits you that part of what you're going without is the social context around that consumption. Solution - find more people who don't watch much media to hang out with.

Honestly at this point I have no idea where people find the time to watch TV.

Posted by: Brian at March 28, 2008 08:12 AM

ROCK ON for selling your TV!!!!

Posted by: Swirly at March 27, 2008 08:49 AM

This is great! When I moved from the US to Switzerland a few years ago, I didn't bring my tv. I felt like I was breaking up with Tivo; it was difficult leaving it behind. In my new home, though, I got busy making a life without a computer, newspapers, magazines, tv. We don't even have a bookstore with English books where I live. And I was a professor of media studies!

After a year, I got a computer and wireless at home because I was staying at the office blogging or on Skype til the wee hours... and my poor dog was left alone too much!

The interesting thing is to see which media you invite back in after this sort of thing -- I highly recommend eliminating all news for a while and seeing what happens -- NOTHING happens, and we think it's important to know all that negative, disastrous stuff! I really believe the conversations on the planet would transform if news told more positive sotries and we consumed more worthwhile info.

Now I use charityfocus.org and other sources of positive news; I get Oprah's magazine sent all the way to Switzerland (a monthly guilty pleaseure, I guess). We watch movies sometimes on DVD and I do have an iPass for Grey's Anatomy... again, I am wholly conscious of my choice to watch McDreamy and McSteamy.

I have to be careful surfing Amazon.com and love to travel to where there are big book stores. They are like pleasure palaces for the media faster!

An interesting project would be to have people share movies, books, music, magazines they WOULD let in if they only chose things that contribute to what they stand for and are up to (or that have hot men, which is a special exception clause).

Thanks for this great experiment and the heads up on the Weepies new album.

Posted by: Rebecca at March 27, 2008 05:31 AM

I've been doing something similar, but perhaps slower. When I moved last spring I didn't get the TV hooked up, and in the new house I make sure to leave the phone and my laptop downstairs and don't let them migrate upstairs to the bedroom. Earlier this year I experimented with no internet at home for two months. Since I freelance that meant going out every day--working in a cafe or the library--but I would return to entire evenings empty for whatever I wanted to do (a book, a bath, fingerpainting?). It's not realistic for me to be without internet at home on an ongoing basis, but I'm trying to be better about shutting it down earlier and not checking on weekends. There is life to be lived, though it's easy to get media distracted.

Posted by: Tea at March 26, 2008 10:28 PM

the last two post have really got me thinking... and although I am not sure if I can talk the husbandman out of the tv, I can certainly walk away from it when it is on at night- head upstairs in the craft room and emerse myself in non-media meditation.
I have done it 4 out of the 5 past nights, and man you right- you do feel different and more grounded.
love this challenge and love that you discovered something that was right under your nose to solve a problem.

thanks!

Posted by: Vanessa at March 26, 2008 09:43 AM

the last two post have really got me thinking... and although I am not sure if I can talk the husbandman out of the tv, I can certainly walk away from it when it is on at night- head upstairs in the craft room and emerse myself in non-media meditation.
I have done it 4 out of the 5 past nights, and man you right- you do feel different and more grounded.
love this challenge and love that you discovered something that was right under your nose to solve a problem.

thanks!

Posted by: Vanessa at March 26, 2008 09:43 AM

By the way, love the photos of you and Matt! I love it that you guys can be fun and silly with each other! If I couldn't have a ridiculous giggle now and then I'd go crazy! As the Jimmy Buffet song goes, 'If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane'...that definitely applies to me!

Posted by: Jennifer at March 26, 2008 09:29 AM

Couldn't do it dude, sorry! I wonder if it's harder when you're single with no kids in the house? There was one thing I read somewhere though, either in Real Simple Magazine or those 100 secrets of Happy people, is that it is a good idea not to turn on the television (and I guess that goes for the computer too)for the first hour or so after returning home from work. I could certainly do that....sort of use it as a time to disconnect a little bit from the working world.

Posted by: Jennifer at March 26, 2008 09:27 AM

that is so COOL!!!!!
xoxo

Posted by: Jen Downer at March 26, 2008 09:18 AM

congrats andrea! i wish i had your commitment...i love lost too much! enjoy your brand new life!
amanda
http://thoughtsofaneccentric.blogspot.com/

Posted by: amanda O at March 26, 2008 06:06 AM

that is so totally cool!

Posted by: lisa at March 25, 2008 09:25 PM

A few months, I put a blanket over our TV, so that it would effectively be hidden when we weren't watching it. And it's kinda funny how much it helped the TV just disappear into the background - as if, by not having the screen in plain view, it lost its power to call to me. It was one of the best things I've ever done. Congrats on freeing yourselves and enjoy the new table!

Posted by: Laura at March 25, 2008 03:29 PM

An update on my diet: a day after commenting this entry and praising my TV-free lifestyle, still feeling a bit guilty about the time I spend on the Internet, my laptop crashed.

Life is so crazy sometimes.

This post transformed my initial anxiety about the crash into creative, optimistic ideas of all the things I could do even if I didn't have a computer at home (while furthermore still without a TV). Knit, read books, write letters, cook better, meet with my friends more often (in the end, Internet is such a lazy and hasty way of keeping up with your friends), take more walks... Andrea, your media diet totally inspired me on a moment of total chaos and panic! What a great coincidence. :)

Al, hoping to get her photos & writings back after the crash, but intending to continue living a fuller, non-surfing-when-I'm-too-lazy-to-do-anything-else life for a while

Posted by: Al at March 25, 2008 03:04 PM

Well, you have inspired me. I am going to be getting rid of my cable. I have been thinking about it for a while, and it's time. Thanks for the ispiration.

By the way, Andrea, I am taking your superhero life class at Squam this year and I am SO EXCITED about it. Can't wait to attend and I'm very excited about meeting you. I have read your blog for a couple of years now and my two superhero necklaces are my favorites. Very, very excited.

Posted by: Amy Wuthrich at March 25, 2008 02:02 PM

Andrea, what a great idea/challenge, and what a great post. It was terrific accountability for me during my media fast (for me, it was the internet that was the hardest - blogs, random/fun/interesting searches not related to work) to know that I'd be "reporting" back here this week.

I mended a couch cushion, sewed a fun pocket onto my 1-year-old's pants (NEVER having sewn children's clothes before - sewing is a whole new world I am just delving into!), cleaned a closet shelf (a project on the back burner for at least 6 months) and several other areas of our home that had been neglected, and most importantly, had the time to discover my true feelings about the current strengths/weaknesses in our marriage/family life and have some good discussions with my husband about it.

Thanks for prompting this. I feel it's just the beginning of more good...

Posted by: Carole at March 25, 2008 01:53 PM

Hello there!
I have read with great interest about your media blackout and am eager to give it a try. This house is filled with tv so often, it is hard. We also adore Battlestar Galactica- so maybe we'd still make space for that one indulgence, but I'm ready to lessen the media load at the least!
I am also looking forward to hearing about what else this change brings forth. :)

Posted by: Eileen at March 25, 2008 09:31 AM

Your post inspired me yesterday to wait a good 45 minutes before opening my tv when I got home. It doesn't sound like much but for me it was a nice change - I live by myself and I like putting on the tv as some sort of companionship. With spring and summer coming I have a whole bunch of projects I want to pursue and I don't want to be held back by the tv ("Can't do this project because I'll miss my favoriate show").

Thanks! Btw, I started reading your blog over a year ago when I happened to find it while surfing the net. You are the only blog I keep up with and just wanted to let you know that I enjoy seeing all the new posts and pictures! Despite your media diet please keep up with the blog!!!

Posted by: Nancy at March 25, 2008 09:26 AM

Wheee! Thanks for leaving a comment in the Shutter Sisters Flickr pool on a picture of my daughter. I feel so honored that it caught your eye during your brief time on the internet during your cleanse. :o)
I'm definitely trying to leave the TV off more, but I have a much harder time cutting down on my surfing...

Posted by: Jenny Rebecca at March 25, 2008 08:25 AM

wow i am impressed. my problem isn't tv it the internet. i am working on spending less time there and you have definitely inspired me.

Posted by: Jen b at March 24, 2008 11:32 PM

I did something a little different but it may entice some of you who deal with work-related e-mails at all hours of day, night, weekend.

Before going on vacation from work last week, I asked a a co-worker of mine to check my work e-mail three times a day to: 1) make sure no urgent items went unanswered 2) delegate any tasks that could be delegated to team members and 3) place my e-mails into off-line folders that I created ahead of time.

The result? My Blackberry that I must keep turned on and with me at all times due to the nature of my job never showed the hundreds of e-mails coming in. So I didn't have to watch the work coming through as I hung out at restaurants and museums, and the stress that I usually encounter even on weekends with that damn Blackberry completely dissipated.

It may seem simple to many of you, but for me, as a professional with numerous bosses and a dozen employees who report to me, it was such a relevation to plan ahead of time to have others manage my e-mails while I was out for five days.

When I returned Saturday, I found all the e-mails neatly organized in folders and was able to work through about 220 within a couple of hours. Work? Yes -- but well worth in exchange for 5 days of no e-mails! Hurray!

Posted by: Patti at March 24, 2008 09:13 PM

I'm so tempted to join you ... I've been feeling lately as if I anaesthetize myself with mindless programs--all the while telling myself I'm examining popular culture.

When I was a child my mother made us read daily for as long as we wanted to watch the TV that evening. For me this was no issue, I've always adored books. In the end I believe it was why, without formal education, I was able to fake an intellect for so many years.

I'm eager to hear how this pans out for your family. I think it will be wonderful for Ben--he'll be able to remain uncluttered with all that staccato imagery.

Posted by: Pamela at March 24, 2008 08:10 PM

Hooray! I'm glad this was such a refreshing experience for you guys. My fella and I made the decision before moving that we did not want to take cable with us. I ALMOST caved when I got on the phone with Comcast to set up our internet service (I have to have internet for my business), but I didn't ;). It's so worth it to have that space.

Posted by: Heather España at March 24, 2008 05:53 PM

Isn't it amazing how much "time" you've gained? My husband and I have been TV free for 10 years. Our inside joke is whenever we are talking to friends and family about exercise, financial planning or their deep desire to do "something" -write a book, get a Master's degree, etc. - we hear the refrain of "I don't have time".

What we find amusing is they always seem to have time to watch TV! And they sure know their shows.

We have our faults too- we are hooked on the Internet so we have to work on that and we love to watch movies. Thanks for having such a wonderful thoughtful blog - now I'm off to exercise and unplug!

Posted by: Becky at March 24, 2008 05:36 PM

I love how you love each other. I really hope that I can have a relationship like yours one day. It seems filled with passion and excitement and love...

Posted by: AndreaD at March 24, 2008 05:13 PM

I'm not surprised to learn it's had such a profound impact on you and your home. I've just noticed that even when i'm not watching TV, I sit as though I am watching. My living-room is oriented towards that - not towards the fireplace or the windows. That's shameful.

Posted by: GreenishLady at March 24, 2008 03:58 PM

Andrea,
What wonderful revelations you've had! I love this post and I'm inspired. I got rid of my tv last year because I have a small apartment and it looked like a freakish monstrosity in my little living room. But...BUT. I'm completely addicted to free shows on the internet and if nothing is on, I put a movie in, just to block out the silence. Isn't that funny? I have a job that requires me to sit in front of the computer for long periods of time, and you'd think I'd be so sick of it, I wouldn't get on the laptop at home, but I do. Time for a media cleanse! I start tomorrow morning the minute I wake up and we'll see where it takes me!

Posted by: Morgan at March 24, 2008 01:29 PM

Isn't it a great feeling!!! We stopped watching TV this past summer and it has been the most wonderful thing for our family. It was quite by accident too. Our remote control broke and my husband and I decided we were both too lazy to change the channel without it. So...within a weeks time of not using a remote, we were DONE. The TV went off and we haven't turned it back on . We still watch the occasional video...but no TV (it's all trash anyway). We did not have cable and so truly there was NOTHING to watch anyway. My kids haven't complained a bit. We have enjoyed an abundance of blessings from turning it off. And it turns out being "lazy" isn't always a bad thing! hahaha

Posted by: Robyn at March 24, 2008 12:54 PM

This piece should be on the front page of every newspaper in the US and Canada. When my children were small we didn't have TV. They didn't miss it. As a family we were more creative and seemed to have more time for listening to each other.
I much prefer listening to radio (CBC) or just listening to classical music. I feel more peaceful and connected to what is really important and what's real.

Posted by: marilee pittman at March 24, 2008 12:49 PM

Good for you ! this piece should be on the fromt page of every newspaper in the US and Canada. We truly need a moritorium on TV. I for one love listening to radio, more than watching TV. When my children were small we had no TV, they never missed it and we were all more creative and had time for each other.

Posted by: marilee pittman at March 24, 2008 12:43 PM

Good for you ! this piece should be on the fromt page of every newspaper in the US and Canada. We truly need a moritorium on TV. I for one love listening to radio, more than watching TV. When my children were small we had no TV, they never missed it and we were all more creative and had time for each other.

Posted by: marilee pittman at March 24, 2008 12:43 PM

Nice going! I don't have a television here in England and don't have cable for my television at home (which is just for watching movies), but I am pretty obsessive about the e-mail and internet-checking. I think that I'll follow your lead, a week late, and see if I can restrict my use this week, while I'm still on leave from teaching...

Posted by: Dr. S at March 24, 2008 11:57 AM

I discovered how easy it is to sit in front of a TV and have lots of time go by before you know it is gone. I discovered I like spending time with my little people and that makes me happy. I also discovered this was a little harder than I thought it would be.

Posted by: Lu at March 24, 2008 11:50 AM

FABULOUS!

I'm sooo happy for you, your realizations, your newfound joy and dining room space :-) Please send photos soon!

I made it mostly TV-free through the week (I did watch a bit of CSPAN mid-week re: the war anniversary and protests). Thankfully my favorite indie radio station gives a little announcement when the news is about to come on, so I could turn it off! Or if I didn't make it in time and the news started, I would chant LA-LA-LA-LA with my fingers in my ears until I reached the OFF button :-0

Each time I do this, I'm amazed at the difference. Less stress, more focus on lovely things, less opinions, less ego, more truth and love. My new question to myself now is "Do I need this?" Do I need to hear this? Read this? Watch this? It's all about conscious choice, right?

Hoooray for you! Can't wait for more stories of this new adventure!

Peace,
Lisa

Posted by: Lisa at March 24, 2008 11:17 AM

I was offline for a few days and wanted to say thank you for the fantastic media diet idea! I would say that I'm not very media oriented, but now I wonder. I can't wait to find out whatever I find out! Your blog is very refreshing to me. Thanks for that, too!

Posted by: Amy Jo at March 24, 2008 10:44 AM

What an inspirational post (and comments too)! I haven't done the media fast but am now seriously considering it. The flow of time and creativity is truly motivation to unplug. Thanks for showing us the way.

Posted by: Sharon at March 24, 2008 10:42 AM

Please click my name to read my entry. I simply didn’t want to overload the board.
-RoughoOlive-

Posted by: Tara at March 24, 2008 09:37 AM

Andrea!
This post has brought me to tears. I suppose because it is something I long to return to. I miss that alive part of myself and I have known for a long time that I have been using media like a drug to sedate myself. It worked a little when my son was a newborn and I needed to distract myself in his sleeping hours and tune out the stress. Now it actually causes stress because I know I am avoiding my inner artist, my inner dreamer and I know it would be an amazing thing to role model for our son!
Thanks for the breath of fresh air you shared with us:) Leia

Posted by: Leia at March 24, 2008 08:45 AM

Count me in. We have been without cable for a long time now but I'm finding my internet addiction and film watching is taking up soooo much of my time that it leaves me feeling frustrated.

Thanks, again, for the inspiration! I've linked to you to inspire others: http://mistressfoy.blogspot.com/2008/03/media-cleanse.html

Posted by: Kitten at March 24, 2008 08:19 AM

Great post! For those of you interested in trying this experiment with a little more support...check out http://www.screentime.org/FutureTurnoffDates.htm and read about National TV turnoff week! (it's a public health campaign devoted to giving families a glimpse of what a timesuck TV can be, and part of a bigger campaign against childhood obesity). Many communities plan fun events to help buffer the initial withdrawal. Enjoy!

Posted by: maura at March 24, 2008 07:50 AM

I did a week long media deprivation last year and was so MOVED and EXCITED by what it produced, I decided to make it a yearly endeavor. Literally, I began the book I've always wanted to write and I couldn't believe how much energy and ideas I had. It's coming up in April and now reading your experience, I am re-excited to for it.

Posted by: summer at March 24, 2008 07:48 AM

It was easy for me to realize that I had no control when it came to watching too much tv and not even good tv, I'd watch anything and stay up way past the time I wanted to go to bed and I'd be late running out the door just so I could catch the end of a show.

My husband and I gave our tv to the thrift store and they looked at us like we were crazy when I explained that it was brand new and worked perfectly I just couldn't watch tv anymore.

I have been amazed at what an improvement that has been. I now knit, read and have time for other things. I'm much more productive and I don't feel as anxious anymore as I did when I watched the news constantly telling me what could kill me and what to be fearful of. I listen to the news in my car on long drives to catch up without all the constant headlines whizzing by like on tv. It works well for me.

Posted by: Kirstie at March 24, 2008 07:31 AM

I got rid of my television 7 years ago. It completely changed my life! I did it at a time when I'm sure due to our new Government administration, the tone became one of fear and reactionism. At the time I was becoming very conscious of the energy of my home and what I chose to allow in and create there. It became critical that only peace, love, truth and beauty be the vibration of my space. So in a moment of what felt like radicalism, out the tv went! Right onto the side walk!

I had no idea how profoundly it would effect me. The amount of time it freed up to actually talk and connect with loved ones, to read endless amounts of books, write, create, Be seemed endless. How did I ever get anything done before?

News still finds its way to me via the internet and friends. And on occasion when I hear of a cool episode of something, which is rare, I watch it online. AND! more then that! I have space in my living room for more books and an extra chair for people to sit in.

I only found myself missing tv in the Winter and when I was sick. There is something yummy about curling up with a good movie at those times, but again, a good computer monitor and a dvd do the trick.

Welcome to the land of the tv-less! Its a big grand world!

Posted by: Lunarmusings at March 24, 2008 07:28 AM

Did not join you (could I do it? Hard question...). But just about had an anxiety attack at the thought of selling a tv and moving it out of the house for good.

I have cut down on tv dramatically, which is a point, but completely? No. I fear I'd spend the time compulsively searching places to watch tv shows online.

Posted by: debra at March 24, 2008 07:12 AM

OK, I didn't join you this time, because I wasn't prepared to get off the junk at the moment. ;) However, I did go on a tv semi-fast (none at night) a couple of years ago, and was *amazed* at how much more I could cram into my evenings. I went from feeling like I never had time for anything to finding there was actually more than enough. It was sobering to realize how much of my life I'd been unwittingly vegging away.

Posted by: meg at March 24, 2008 07:08 AM

happy experiment isn't?

I have a tv, but it does not own the living room, and i dont watch more than 2 hours of it per week - tv is a mind controlling machine, not for the best believe me!

Harder it is with the internet... since a week i tried to check emails only twice a day, and reduce surfing to 1 or 2 hours - and it feels really good.

the internet is like a giant oracle available 24-7, which can become quite disturbing! I think its use has to be reduce, otherwise hours are spent watching instead of doing creative work...

Posted by: m-c at March 24, 2008 07:00 AM

That is fantastic news A!! Way to go! Sharing meals with your hubby and son will have much more value.. and you're receptive to noticing. Congrats for ending the addiction.

Posted by: juli at March 24, 2008 06:59 AM

I am so impressed. I don't think I could do it. I do have TiVo so tv doesn't control my life, I only watch what I want when I want and I never watch commercials. My rule is only one tv in the house and never in the bedroom. My 13 year old thinks this is the dumbest rule ever as all his friends have their own tv sets in their rooms.

I do call tv free nights now and then and he and I play scrabble or cards and have real conversations and he likes that as much as I do.

:)
Sarah

Posted by: Sarah at March 24, 2008 06:44 AM

Congratulations! I stopped cold on watching TV about a year ago and I haven't looked back. My husband and I don't have cable and only watch news on PBS. It's amazing how much free time you actually have when you're not staring at the box!

Posted by: Amy at March 24, 2008 06:17 AM

Congratulations! I stopped cold on watching TV about a year ago and I haven't looked back. My husband and I don't have cable and only watch news on PBS. It's amazing how much free time you actually have when you're not staring at the box!

Posted by: Amy at March 24, 2008 06:17 AM

Huray! Isn't the freedom amazing...I saw the best bumper sticker that inspired our similar choices: "TV Opium for the Masses"

Enjoy your new found time!!!!!!!

Posted by: Val at March 24, 2008 05:07 AM

What a great experiment, Andrea! Based on the amount of time that e.g. my parents spend watching the screen absent-mindedly, I would recommend it to everyone.

I've been without a TV for almost two months now after I moved to a new apartment. The only thing I miss is watching the news; it always made me feel like I was somehow.. connected. Or rather, it was simply opening the TV that made me feel connected. Watching few seconds of the fresh episode of some dull soap opera, seeing the new Nestlé ad, surfing through the channels - it somehow makes you feel very up-to-date, like you're living in this very moment with these random people in this rather artificial world, while you can really forget about your real surroundings, yourself and your family.

Giving up this artificial 'connectedness' resulted in greater awareness of myself, my surroundings and my time management as well. Now it is a conscious choice to put on a specific DVD movie on my laptop if I want to. I feel that my life is more than just pressing the button and passively taking in what's on. I'm calling the shots now. It is my choice, my time, my life. When it used to be so difficult to switch off the TV before, it is now so easy not to even think about the television.

There is just so much to do. :)

Posted by: Al at March 24, 2008 03:40 AM

Bravo! Congratulations! So much unimportant psychic junk mail will now just be returned to sender unopened.

I'm so happy for you!

....I did find you meandering aimlessly on the internet in the middle of the night during a quiet moment at work...............but that's me.

Posted by: cv at March 24, 2008 12:49 AM

Beautifully put, Andrea.

Understand that I was watching tv every single day of my life without fail from toddlerhood to age 42. If I was awake the tv was on, keeping me company, educating me, being my society and my connection to it.

Then three years ago, I somehow found a way to cut it off completely. For someone so utterly emotionally dependent on tv this was beyond a cold turkey moment. This was a transformation in consciousness.

Our life has taken the same wonderful turns from tv's vacancy that you describe having; an increase in life's true richnesses and the time to make interesting things instead of just watching them.

I do not miss having tv for a second.

I wish you all the best in this Whole New Life.

Posted by: Shelley Noble at March 23, 2008 10:13 PM

When my spouse and I married, we decided that we'd never own a TV. That was 15 years ago and we're still committed to the TV-free life even though we now have pre-teen kids!

Our children have great attention spans, they love books, and we have lots of time to cook and play games together. In the summertime we sow a big garden and spend much of our time outdoors.

Not having a TV was one of the best gifts that we've given ourselves and our family! I'm so excited for you two and I bet you will _never_ regret it!! :)

Posted by: Jana at March 23, 2008 08:47 PM

I've been TV free for 8 years this week and I've never looked back. We have long dinners and we read books to each other and create things and think and talk together... it's the most amazing thing when you discover how much time you have for the things you really want to do! Enjoy the freedom.

Posted by: Jolie at March 23, 2008 08:45 PM

Fantastic! I donated my TV to a charity thrift store a few years ago, and have never looked back. I now have a tiny 7" portable DVD player and a Netflix subscription, so I watch the good stuff when I get the urge. My challenge would be to do less online (since I work in the blogging arena, it's tough!). You've inspired me!

Posted by: Melanie at March 23, 2008 08:44 PM

I can live without the tv during the day but at night when my son is in bed and it's just me the tv is a kind of company, if I've not got a good book or on the computer. So the TV will be staying with me. It's a bold move though and I'll be interested to hear how you progress.

Posted by: jen at March 23, 2008 08:42 PM

Well, good for you both..it helps to have your spouse in it with you.
We are going on over 20 years with no cable now.
We do allow a family movie now and again. I am able to catch the world news about once a day on the laptop.Avoiding the politics part.
I can say hurray for you, because I know what it is like to lay on the floor and play games with my kids, build incredible jigsaw puzzles and talk with them and have time for the long distance phone calls to family. You will not regret it and neither will Ben. I applaud you.

Posted by: krista at March 23, 2008 08:34 PM