Since I quit working and my finances have gone from strapped to ultra strapped, I’ve been making a bit of a game out of how frugle I can be. There are certain little luxuries in life I want more than others, and I decided that television was a luxury I could live without. I’d much rather have the extra $30 (if I end up having it which is iffy) to go to my nearby coffee house, hang out with the people I know there, listen to live music and pretty much get out of the house on the cheap.
Living without television is something I’ve done before. All during my high school years we lived in Germany. We were far enough from the American community that we couldn’t get the Armed Forces Network (AFN). So, back then before cable TV or a satellite dish was such an affordable thing, we just did without. We watched German television, which might have helped my language skills a tad. Sometimes we’d make entertainment out of making up our own stories to go with the action on the television set. It was a real exercise in creativity.
So, when faced with cutting back, television seemed like something that I enjoy, but don’t really need.
Don’t get me wrong. I have been in withdraw. Although I’m often frustrated that I can watch a news channel for sometimes hours and still have no idea what’s going on in the world, I do miss some of the coverage. I miss book TV on CSPAN. For my little TV fixes such as ER and House and Grey’s Anatomy (anyone see a theme here) I’ve managed to find some Web sites where you can watch back episodes online for free.
It isn’t the same as watching TV – but when you get desperate for a little mindless entertainment, it’s an addict fix at least.
When I left work I naively had all these plans of all the things I was finally going to do. My plans haven’t all panned out and I feel a bit guilty and frustrated by that. But, considering that I’ve had one health issue after the other since I left, I’m trying to cut myself just a tad of slack.
Being without TV – and having a personality that can’t stand to just do nothing – I’ve found a bit of time for things I’d missed because I couldn’t do them while I was working. I’ve started reading more. My eyes do get tired rapidly and I can’t read for hours, but while I was working I couldn’t do anything at night like read a book. My eyes were too tired. I’ve also started painting again, something else my eyes were too tired for after a day of editing. I have fewer headaches because I can manage the eye strain so much better. I can read for 15 minutes and then go off and clean the sink in the kitchen, then come back and read some more.
I’ve also been enjoying listening to NPR, a local independent radio station, and even a few sermons on the Christian radio station. I actually love some of the sermons I’ve heard lately.
I definitely have more time for prayer and reflection.
But, the closets still haven’t all been cleaned out nor have all of the file cabinets been sorted. There are still piles of things to file. I guess I’ll get to them – it’s amazing how long some of those things can take when they’ve been on hold for literally years.