So now that I am back from Hawaii, I’m starting out an entire year without any TV or other video-based entertainment in my home. I’m actually really looking forward to it. I’m still going to blog regularly, and I’m still going to check email and Facebook because both have become a necessity in my life for social reasons, and I’m still going to go see a movie at the theater on a date with my wife, or go to a friend’s house for a GoldenEye party when one is scheduled, etc. The point is to not depend on it at home and keep it as entertainment when entertainment is warranted and not treated as trying to get a fix. So in celebration of this momentous occasion, here’s a quick list of five things I’ll miss the most and the five things I’m most excited about for this next year.
what i’ll miss
1. Video Games. That’s first and foremost. Video games are an escape tool for me, and something like that is extremely good in the right doses. I really prefer the games that allow me to shut the world off from around me and get totally immersed in what’s happening in the story. In fact, when a video game is to blame for keeping me up late at night or making me late to a social event, it was because I kept wanting to find out what would happen next in the story and couldn’t break away. It’s safe to say that of all the games I have, I’m going to miss the Hλlf Life series the most. In the last month or two, I’ve played through and beaten Hλlf Life, Hλlf Life: Opposing Force, Hλlf Life: Blue Shift, Hλlf Life 2, and Half Life 2: Episode One. I’m half way through Hλlf Life 2: Episode Two and it’s kind of killing me that I don’t get to finish the story for another year. But somethings must take precedence over others.
2. Useless Websites. I wasted entire days of my unemployment on useless websites like this one. And this one. And especially this one. It’s been a good lesson in the value of moderation, because after a while, one begins to realize how empty spending one’s time on that crap can really be, and what all those teachers meant when they compared memorizing dates in history with memorizing song lyrics. Teachers were right; go figure.
3. The Netflix Wii Disk. Some people use their XBoxes, some people use their laptops hooked up into their 72″ plasma screens, some people stick with the mail DVDs. Dona and I fell, and fell hard, for the disk for our Wii, and we’re both going to feel a void for a while that Futurama is leaving. Man, that’s one funny show.
4. Games on my iPod Touch. Sure, these, too, are video games like #1, but there are only a few specific locations that I usually end up playing these, and I love them. And now, those activities are going to be very different without these games. One of those activities is riding the bus. Good thing I’ve got that Books app.
5. My DVD Collection. When a video game just isn’t cutting it, or when I’m afraid a game will end up eating up more than just a Friday night, I turn to my DVD’s. I re-watched The Dark Knight several weeks ago and was blown away AGAIN at how good it is. Truly–the best superhero movie thus far. And now they’re going to be put away with all the other video-based stuff. Kind of sad, but it’ll be fun in a year to open the box I’m putting them in. It’ll be like Christmas in September!
what i’m looking forward to
1. Guitar, Guitar, Music, Piano, Guitar, and Guitar. I fully intend on making guitar playing my new video game playing. I did it to a degree during my unemployment and got a lot better; now imagine what I could do if I stuck with it! But even up until now, I’ve found some time to play guitar. It’s been hard seeing my keyboard gathering dust, and that Finale icon on my computer desktop going unused, but I never make time for them because when I’m not playing a game or watching a movie or laughing at Mr. Plinkett, I have to practice guitar. Usually for the worship team at my church. So here’s to having more time to tickle the (plastic) ivories!
2. Reading More. Several years ago, I made a comment to a roommate on a lazy Sunday afternoon that I was tired of TV. He responded with, “I bet you couldn’t go six months without TV.” I said, “I bet I could; I don’t think YOU could!” So he and I agreed to do just that–no TV for six months. And we did it. And it was awesome. The one thing I ended up doing the most for leisure was reading. I don’t know how many books I got through in those six months, but it was more than ten, I can promise you. I’ve actually got a small list of books I’m looking forward to getting through. I’ll tell you one of them so I can feel smart: Moby Dick. Impressed? You should be. I’m already 100 pages or so into it.
3. Around The House Projects. Unlike my reading, I don’t really have a list of these kinds of things, but they were something that I realized yesterday. You see, one of the aspects of this next year that has Dona uneasy is that she uses TV for background noise while she does other things. Since our TV will be stowed away somewhere, she won’t have that option, so I’ve suggested the use of music–especially via my vinyl collection. Well, we need a place to put the record player, since it currently sits on our DVD shelf, and we just so happen to have an old kiddie desk sitting on our porch that we’ve never re-painted. I get to strip it and re-paint it! It’s like being a REAL husband! I’m honestly excited about this. The only question is “what color?” I’m thinking an iridescent green/purple.
4. A Stronger Marriage. Here in lies the primary purpose of a year away from TV and its kin. When I was engaged, I read something by someone who recommended that new married couples not have a TV for their first year to help increase communication skills, among other things. Well, Dona and I certainly didn’t go for that, but the idea stuck with me. When I was unemployed, I made it a point to have coffee waiting for Dona when she got home and we’d sit on the couch and talk about our days. I kept that up off and on for a couple of weeks, I think, but the point is that it was always way better than sticking with something on the internet or turning on The Simpsons. Now we’ll have a whole year for that.
5. A Stronger Relationship with God. I’ve found that a half-asleep quiet time in the morning, some half-hearted prayer on the bus, and Sundays and Thursday nights don’t quite cut it for the relationship I want to have with God. I want to know his word more, I want to be able to worship better, I want to be a better spiritual leader for my wife, but just as is the case with me playing music, video games and TV always got in the way because they were easier and quicker. I know that plenty of people have no issue with those things getting in the way of their spiritual growth, but you also can’t argue that giving up TV with intentions of using some of the extra time to get closer to God is a bad move.
So here we go! It’s rather thrilling actually, and I can rest easy knowing Dr. Freeman will still be there when I get back.