Preparing ourselves to someday live a more simple, sustainable life of the land in Lyman means evaluating all the “things” and “stuff” that take up space in our lives and require a lot of time and energy without giving anything back in return. As much as Sean and I completely believe that less is more, we surrendered ourselves to the exposure of our modern world for many years and have a collection of items and habits we have decided to shed. Today, it’s our cable.
I don’t know how many of us blindly pay the stack of bills that stream into our mailboxes without actually stopping to think if we really need them. And God forbid we set ourselves up for direct payment from our checking accounts; I have several monthly memberships that automatically withdraw from my account that I never remember to use or cancel. And so when our cable company decided to just slowly begin to increase our bill from month to month, it took a minute for us to notice and then ask “why.” Apparently there were “upgrades to the system,” which seems to be the universal phrase in our technological world for “we need your money to keep up with the competition.”
And the more we thought about what we were buying, the more it made sense to consider letting it go. I mean, do I really need to watch another repeat episode of Law and Order: SVU or Sex in the City? I’ve seen every episode enough times that I could act them out with the proper costumes and props. It’s ridiculous. Yet something drags me in, this mind and body numbing drug that pumps through the high definition Technicolor images and sounds that are transmitted through a large flat screen sitting just eight feet away from my face. I sit disgusted during commercial breaks as I hear about the latest gas guzzling “low-price” vehicle that I must buy to make myself look better; the next drug that cures depression with just mild side effects of migraines, stomach aches, cramping, bleeding, swelling and thoughts of suicide; the latest one-day sale that will pre-determine that I spend my next weekend inside a windowless shopping mall; ads for the new reality TV show where I can be entertained by eating disorders, people marrying people they don’t know, women shopping for wedding dresses, housewives with no morals but enough money not to care, and the latest trends in fashion, tattoos, and bartering antiques and because I now know their first name, I have a special connection with them and must turn on my TV week after week to get the latest update.
Obviously my words are dripping with sarcasm but I sprinkle this with a bit of venom because I have had my fair share of time lost in front of this energy sucking device and I am a bit ashamed of it. I secretly know that today when I go to watch What Not to Wear, a show that has no relevance to my own life but a daily habit for my lunchtime break, I may quietly curse that the remote doesn’t work. What am I suppose to do, go outside and eat in the sunshine? And yet I’m so happy that I will have to wade through this transitional time where I still automatically reach for the remote when I’m bored or tired or don’t want to have to put any effort into living my life. I’ll have to do something else and how great is that? I have bookshelves stacked with great reads I have yet to start, a home that needs to be cleaned and packed up so we can move to Lyman, gardens that will soon need to be prepped and tended to as I grow our household’s food, mountains to climb, lakes to paddle, my yoga mat calling my name from the confines of the bag for which it resides. And what about just sitting still in silence? Why turn towards a device to plug in when what we really need is to find contentment in being quiet and unplugged?
I’m so ready for this and although I know there will be times, like an addict looking for my next fix, that I will want to kick back and watch mindless television for hours, I know that feeling will pass. Cable detox, I guess.
Well, I gotta go return the cable box before taking a long walk in the woods with my dogs, reading a good book and spending some time cooking delicious meals for Sean and I. What will I do with all of this free time?!