Only three days into this week’s challenge, I’ve learned a good deal about myself, and discovered that going without TV, though certainly achievable, is a bit more difficult than I had expected.
Foremost of all, I’ve found myself with a great deal of free time. Fortunately, I’ve largely been able to utilize this time for healthy pursuits; reading, listening to music, writing, meditating, exercising, and having genuinely enlightening conversations with people I see every day.
I have found it difficult, however, to keep my attention on any of these particular diversions for longer than an hour or so, and when I’ve come up shy on new ideas to entertain myself, I’ve been forced to get a bit creative. I’ll begin by way of anecdote…
On days when I have a few spare hours between waking and heading into work, I usually relax on the couch and watch old episodes of Law & Order over a few cups of coffee. As this was not an option on Wednesday, and since I had already exhausted myself, at least temporarily, from the healthy pursuits described above, I elected instead to have a “Spa Day,” which is to say that I went upstairs for an exceedingly long stay in my roommates’ shower in order to make use of my fabulous upstairs roommate’s extensive collection of exotic body products.
As a long-time CVS and Kroger-brand loyalist who has never strayed from the cheapest body wash and shampoos I can find, I was immediately taken with the remarkable hues of the bottles, the near-neon oranges, pinks, and lime-greens shone bright, as though I were showering in one of Frida Kahlo’s jungles.
Being entirely new to this world, I found myself enraptured with the lists of tropical ingredients found in each oil, scrub, peel, polish, and exfoliate, and decided that, with nothing else to do with my time for the next hour or so, I might as well try them all.
My cleanse began with a Bergamot extract body wash, complemented by two different fair trade shower gels, followed with an argan oil body conditioner and finished with a soy & honey body polish. I struggled to determine the proper order of operations for the body conditioner and polish, but settled on using the polish at the end of the chain, if only to ensure good presentation.
I was perhaps most pleased to see that one of the brands, LUSH, publishes caricatures of the faces of the employees responsible for each product on the side of the bottles.
Though a novice myself, I was impressed with Greg’s handiwork on “The Olive Branch” shower gel, and particularly enjoyed the aroma of its vine leaf extract compote.
In contrast, I found Madu’s work on the “It’s Raining Men” shower gel a bit clumsy, and felt that its tiger lily and lotus flower infusion lacked nuance, leaving it a bit too lotus-forward on the nose.
Naturally, my hair received the same treatment with a dual-dose of argan oil shampoos and conditioners, all of which were of course silicon, sulfate, and paraben-free.
Though I have little desire to ever actually do any of this again, in lacking spoon-fed entertainment I’ve been forced to be creative with my use of time, which has often been for the better, and occasionally merely the absurd.
Successes to date:
Things I’ve done in the past three days that I wouldn’t have done otherwise:
- Played Yahtzee into the wee hours of the morning (top score: 306)
- Read Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (Despite being from Indiana I never got the chance to read it in grade school)
- Written three ~1,000 word blog posts (coming soon)
- Went to a bar with a buddy and actually talked about life instead of just watching sports the whole time
- Actually slept for almost eight hours each night
- Listened to music without doing anything else
- Bounced a lacrosse ball across the floor with another roommate for nearly an hour, discussing among other things:
- the transcendental influences of the band Shpongle
- the number of stringed instruments per capita in Nashville vs. anywhere else in the world
- the ill-effects of high pressure academic institutions on their subjects mental health
Challenges thus far:
TV’s are literally everywhere
Whether at work, out to eat, at a bar, or in my living room, I’m not sure I’ve been more than twenty feet away from a television set at any given time.
Many other activities don’t hold my attention the same way TV does
Though I’ve never had any difficulty sitting in front of a TV set barreling through a series for hours on end, most of the alternative ways I’ve been using my time have left me antsy to do something else after the first 45 minutes-1 hour.
Thus far, I’ve generally obeyed this urge and kept finding something else to do every hour or so, but on nights when I’ve not had any sort of social engagement I’ve eventually run out of ideas and found myself a bit bored.
There’s nothing to do at the end of the night
Usually whether I go out with friends or stay in, I’ll end my night with an hour or so of Netflix in bed to wind down. Unfortunately, most of the activities I’ve been spending my new-found free time on wouldn’t be great right before bed (exercise would keep me up, as would anything too creative).
Fortunately, I’ve found that reading works even better for this purpose than TV, I usually can’t make it longer than twenty minutes before falling asleep if I’m reading in bed, but that just helps me sleep more and easier overall.