Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Blackout

My new year’s resolution is more of a month-long thing: No TV during the month of January. No movies, no TV shows, no video games. I’ve written before how I would like to get rid of our TV completely, especially now that Violet’s around, but Linda’s not completely behind the idea. She hates commercial TV, but she loves popping in a video during dinner or on a lazy afternoon. To be fair, I do, too. She says I’m into self-deprivation, and maybe she’s right, but I got the idea for this “no TV for a month” last January. I noticed that once winter sets in and we aren’t outside as much, time spent in front of the TV definitely spikes. There’s books to read, writing to be done, odd jobs around the house – but on most nights, it’s much easier to turn on the TV. After a long day at work, I feel like I earned the relaxation time, but after an hour or two spent on my butt staring at the screen, I start to feel antsy – a little guilty. Is it just me? A night spent in front of the TV, no matter how entertaining the movie or the show, no matter how many zombies I skillfully execute, is not an evening that leaves me feeling fulfilled. Time spent next to someone on the couch, both people staring at a screen, is not quality time. So I’m telling myself that it’s not about self-deprivation – it’s about self-fulfillment. Last year, with that month of the TV turned off – I read more than usual – to myself and out loud to my wife, I wrote more than usual and talked to friends more than usual (including my wife). True, come February 1st, we went a little nuts. I think we watched three or four movies that day, but the month of January was like a reset to zero. It showed me how much time I could have if I wanted it, and most nights I went to bed feeling like I accomplished something more than a day at work. Ever since Violet was born, I’ve been trying to get down on paper the story of her birth – from first contraction to mop up. Every day, I try to read at least one book to her. And a day is just not complete without at least an hour of moony-eyed staring at her. Over the course of this month, I’m hoping to keep all these balls in the air and add a bunch more. Linda may protest, but I’m thinking I might stretch the no-TV ban to two months.

PS – Before I come across sounding like a husband who won’t let his wife watch TV just because I don’t want to, I’ll point out that my no TV resolution applies only to me - Linda is free to watch TV whenever she wants. She just feels guilty turning on the TV when I’m home and won’t watch it.

43 days old

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