I‘m a wannabe minimalist. I dream of location-freedom and spend a lot of time figuring out ways to be more nomadic. You know, just in case I start traveling all over the world at a moment’s notice. In fact, this year I’ve decided to participate in the 100 Thing Challenge.
I hate being owned by stuff. Stuff doesn’t prove anything about your success in life, other than that you like to accumulate stuff. It is not memories, it is not living. It’s just stuff. Stuff and things.
I think it all started about 7 years ago when we decided to live without a microwave. We moved into an apartment with a very (very) small kitchen. It didn’t come with a microwave and we decided it was unnecessary to get one. We had an oven. It would require more thought and time put into our eating, but so what? When we moved again in 2009 to a place with a much larger kitchen, there was a microwave on the counter. I asked the owner to remove it as soon as we signed the lease. We’ve never missed it, and the counter space is awesome.
We also ditched our couch. I needed the extra room for art and we rarely sat on it. So? Poof. No couch. Not only did it provide space for art, but it also had room for yoga! And Krav Maga! And spontaneous breakdancing! Plus we didn’t have to clean it.
Every single time we’ve let go of something we previously thought we “needed” in life, it’s given us the freedom and opportunity to accomplish so much more than we intended. We’ve had such good results that I actually get excited at the prospect of ridding ourselves of more things. Things and stuff.
I feel the need to clarify that I am, in no way, one of those anti-TV people. In fact, the staunchly anti-TV people I know don’t seem to be anti-video-game or anti-crappy-movie, and spend equally if not significantly more time in front of the screen watching nonsense than anyone I know who “watches” TV.
I have always been a true TV fan. As a child it was soothing. It provided I Love Lucy reruns and Seinfeld. I loved award shows and holiday specials. I loved the comforting click of channel flipping. I love old movies, political debates, and super-science shows. I even appreciate the value of TV as art.
But over the last few years, I just haven’t been watching it. We keep up with maybe one series at a time. Weeks go by without the TV ever being on. We own like five DVDs. We don’t even go to the movies more than twice a year. And besides, we’re keeping the internet. God bless you, Internet.
I’m still working through all the various justifications that keep popping up in my mind. Mostly, that I will miss something. Something important. IMPORTANT TV.
Yet… Is it really worth it? Do I even care? Where is my focus? When I think about my life and my future, I don’t seem to include anything about the television shows I’m watching. And it does cost money.
So, the TV is going. I haven’t turned it on in weeks. Already since making this decision, I’ve been painting and writing more. I’ve even made lists about my goals for the year. And I’m excited to start my taxes. WTF?
And maybe in 8 months I’ll realize I’m going to die without TV and I’ll worry about it then.
In the meantime, more time to live. More room to grow.
—Written by Shayla Maddox for Art & Musings