One year ago, in a moment of clarity, and I have to admit, tight budgeting, I unplugged the cable that gave me 24 hour access to satellite television. At the time I thought I needed a short breather from the remote control that kept me tied to the television set, and I told myself that I would seek a more inexpensive plan soon. It’s been a year, and I am still unplugged.
At first the silence was deafening. I didn’t even have a radio in my home or a cd player for listening to music. Many times I would reach for the remote control, only to realize it was no longer employed. My television still sat on the mantel in my bedroom, but it wasn’t of any use to me. I began listening to the sounds of my old house, to the footsteps of my neighbors, to the song of the winter wind circling my home in the night, and to the traffic noises of my city street. Even Sunshine noticed the difference. Her ears perked up as new sound waves reached them that weren’t the familiar television blah, blah, blah. I had to reassure her that everything was ok on more than one occasion.
After about a month, I purchased an HDMI cable, so that I could watch on my tv screen programs that interested me by way of my laptop and the internet. I also began checking out movies from the public library for those long winter hours when I was stuck indoors. I quickly discovered how seldom I utilized them. I often returned the movies to the library when they were due, still unseen. I became accustomed to the silence, and I liked it.
As the days ticked by, I became much more aware of the time I actually spend in my home, and what I do when I am here. Without the television, I expanded my writing to not only this blog, but to my personal journal. I began letter writing when more than a phone call was what I believed was needed. I also began spending my rare moments at home during the day sitting at my window with a cup of hot tea in my hand watching the world outside drift by. And, as for the phone, I started keeping in touch with family and friends better, and on a more regular basis. I read a few books – not many – as I had a hard time getting into a story, and would find myself waking up with an opened book across my chest. As the days lengthened with springtime, walks became a daily evening activity, along with sitting on my porch watching the dusk settle in on my street while enjoying a glass of wine. I discovered that my hours inside my home when I am awake are few, and I didn’t want to clutter them with the noise of the television.
Friends have told me that I need to keep up with the news and what is happening in the world. I can do that as much as I please through reading the news online or by listening to my car radio, and although I know I have missed some important events or happenings by not knowing about them, my personal world has not been rocked, and nothing has changed for me here where I live. I have not become a hermit; I have simply taken the opportunity to choose for myself how much I want to know. When we had an impending ice storm last winter, people told me I needed television to stay informed of the weather conditions. But I didn’t. I found what I needed online and somehow survived the winter event. Amazing!
I’d like to say that I have changed a lot from this experiment. Maybe I have. I’m not sure. I do know that I am spending more time in meditation, prayer, yoga poses, and with my writing, and I actually enjoy the quietness of my home. My life is different, that’s for sure. I now listen to the thoughts inside my head and heart instead of to the constant noise of a television program. But after this year of quietness, I am now feeling the need for music. Instead of finding a new access point for my television, I think I am going to start looking for something that will provide music for me.
I think Sunshine would like that, too.