Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

It was once a running joke about me and office-hopping. Part of my job at my employer at the time was file cataloguing and retention. And retain I did. When the files were in boxes and the boxes were stacked high, I would take my personal effects and move to the next space. I filled up two (three?) offices in that building and moved three (four?) times.

Much like those mini-offices with papery, hear-through walls, stuffed to the brim with boxes full of the past, my life is feeling crowded. I am having trouble seeing past the Stuff I have filled the boxes of my life with.

Once, while I was serving a mission in Fresno, I met a wealthy family that amazed me for so many reasons – they were down to earth, they had pizza nights for the missionaries, they served their hearts out. They had children ranging in age from 3 to 17 years old and it was a standing rule in the house that there was “No TV during weeknights”. The children were free to pursue other interests, such as practicing their musical instrument of choice, reading, or shooting bb guns at pigeons in their backyard with their dad.

Before I knew it, I was home, married and living the life of a poor (but happy!) college student-slash-newlywed. I mentioned the No TV during weeknights thing to my new husband-slash-study partner, and we tabled that discussion to another time when it really mattered. After all, we didn’t even own a TV in those early days (and almost all our furniture consisted of hand-me-downs). We saved our money and eventually bought a TV and a DVD player. Then, we moved to a bigger apartment and got free cable. Once we were hooked, free cable went away and we missed it, so we started paying for satellite. After that, we bought our first house and eventually had our first kid, which brings us straightway to the present with curbside-service style efficiency.

Let me tell you, being delivered to the doorstep of your own inevitability does something to a person. For me, it makes me realize that if I want my children to love reading, playing outside, and thinking and acting creatively, I really need to be (or become) that kind of person. The thing is I know she is in here somewhere under all this technology and internet and Facebooking and blogging and texting and TiVo-ing.

Suddenly, it matters. Suddenly, I am thinking about the kind of person I want to be, about the kind of mother I want to be. Suddenly, I am finding that TV and the internet have so little to do with who that person is.

And yet, I am an addict. When I get bored, my mind starts twitching and I reach for the mouse and start clicking through images and pages or I reach for the cell phone and start thumbing away like my life depends on it or I reach for the remote and put some inane thing on just for the noise (and yet I HATE commercials with a white-hot passion! they seriously raise my blood pressure).

I am not saying the internet is evil or that TV is evil or that cell phones are evil. There is a subset to these that involves real-life connections with the world at large. But mostly (like 80%) is fluff. And my Life is getting buried underneath it.

Order and Balance must be restored. It is time for some spring cleaning around here!

I am hoping that once the fluff - the highly unnecessary - is removed, the more important things will rise to the surface, like cream, to be scraped off and savored.

[Title quote is from "Zoolander"]


Naomi said...

Love this! I too would love to have no tv during the week with my kids but it is so hard to do. i get so tempted to say - alright put it on just so i can have a quiet moment or try to cook dinner in peace. so great to find your blog. naomi x

Amy N. said...

We don't have any channels on our TV, we only watch movies, so that cuts down on a lot of TV for us. When we first did that I thought we would miss it, but we really don't.

I'm giving up my iphone for lent. Well, everything but the actual calling features. I totally understand how you feel! Every time I have three seconds in a row of down time I start emailing etc...

Hopped over from MMB

Hilary said...

I love this too. Excpet I have found that the TV is a great thing to spark discussion in our family, but now we just have netflix and hulu so we tend to find a bit more quality...

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