No. They probably don't. For us it had come time. I had first thought of it almost 2 years ago. I was in school and dreaming of what my life could look like if I took some risks. This was a risk. Taking away something you are accustomed to and that provides, something, seemed risky.
So when I told my husband almost two years ago that I wanted to get rid of the t.v. he said he needed more time. I had sprung the idea on him and I knew that I needed to be patient. The t.v. stayed, I watched my cooking shows, he watched sports and movies and the kids watched various shows. Eventually I arranged the living room so the t.v. was not center stage any longer. That helped.
There comes a time in a marriage, or a family, when you realize there is disconnect. Each of you is going in different directions and no one really wants to stop and listen to what the other has to say. Busy and stressed and distracted seem the norm. With cell phones, computers and t.v.s the opportunity to disconnect is so great, I wonder how much connection I have lost along the way. The technological world certainly connects us in ways I never dreamed of. I write a blog and women read it from Australia. That is cool. That is a connection I consider positive and progressive. Standing in line at the deli counter, on the phone, as you are asked what you would like, that's not cool. Teenagers crashing in cars because of texting is not cool. The way my family was disconnected at the end of the day, was not cool. No one was having fun.
The time came and I called the cable company. She asked why we were giving up cable. I told her that we were removing the t.v. and changing the way we spent time together. A pause. Then, "Not a lot of people do that." No. They don't.
When I was 10, my family moved to Germany. We had no t.v. for a period of time. My mother always said it was some of the best time we had as a family.
I am working to set times on the computer so that it's not always open and I'm not rushing to finish an article or e-mail a client. I am hoping to stay more present and connected.
In this transition someone at work asked Patrick what we did instead of watching t.v. Because, remember, not a lot of people do that. Patrick told him that we read, we talk, we dream, we make plans, we work out the difficult stuff that creeps into a marriage, we laugh with the kids before bed when they do their night time dancing in the living room. (Ok, I embellished, he told him we talk and read and spend time together.) We now sit in a room that is no longer set up to revolve around a t.v. It seems more open, more alive, friendlier. This wasn't easy for any of us. I really loved cooking shows. And What Not To Wear. And Oprah. Before removing the t.v. we cut down watching it so that when it was gone, we had already created new rituals.
I am not suggesting that everyone kicks out the t.v. Just as I wasn't suggesting everyone run out and pierce their nose (although some of you did, and you look beautiful by the way). I do think we need to look at areas where we are disconnected and understand that the disconnect will only become greater unless change is made. Rituals to bring ourselves back to those we love. Remember when you used to talk (or not talk) with your partner long into the night when you were first dating? You didn't have kids, and yet had so much to say. So much to dream. So much to connect.
Not a lot of people feed their kids green smoothies each morning. Not a lot of people say hello to each person they pass as they walk the dog. Not a lot of people really listen when others talk. Not a lot of people belly laugh every day. Not a lot of people create daily connection through touch. Not a lot of people cook 90% of their own food. Not a lot of people clean out their closets of all the clothes that don't fit or have gone out of style. Not a lot of people create space for change. Perhaps we should.
This is what I am trying to do. So the t.v. was part of that. Part of becoming more present and connected.
I sat down to a quiet meal of broccoli and sauteed chickpeas for lunch yesterday. It was calm, the kids were having a picnic outside. I did not eat in front of the t.v. or computer. I watched the kids through the window and tried to focus on the food and the sound of the laughter. And connect.
Sauteed Chick Peas
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp each, chili powder and cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Heat the oil in a small pan, add spices for about 30 seconds. Add garlic and chick peas and allow to saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and a small squeeze of lemon.
Where would you like to find more connection?