For about four months, I did not have a TV. I was also in the middle of a lot of changes (new apartment, new job, ending of a relationship, living alone for the first time in a while). Suddenly, everything became very new. And not having a TV in the middle of that newness was another element that woke me up to what the present moment actually felt like.
Before, a typical routine (when I didn’t go out) would go something like this. Come home to my floor-plan B apartment on the top floor of a managed building (complete with carpet and sound-proofed walls). Put on pajamas, get food, and turn on TV. For just a little bit. A little bit would turn into an hour, while I watched whatever reality show happened to be on. Get caught up in the drama on the screen. My partner would get home and we would cuddle and chat and then next thing I knew it would be time for bed.
The way I come home over the past four months has been very different. I moved to the top floor of a duplex in Manhattan Beach. It feels like such a big, creaky space, with high wooden ceilings and full of the smell of ocean air. I open the door, and take off my shoes. Feel my feet on the hardwood floor as I walk across the living room. Listen to the wind rip across the roof, and the neighbors play music across the street (no sound-proof walls). Get into pajamas. Pause. Then, maybe . . . get food, write, or read. Feel that small moment when I crawl into bed and realize I am not waiting for anyone else.
As I get re-adjust to life in all of its little ways, I have done it without the band-aid of having a TV. I kind of miss it. But TV enables an automatic life. It lets you come home and skip right past all of the bumpy parts, and instead watch someone else tough it out (or pretend to live life, at least). Without it, I have had to come face-to-face with some pretty empty times. Sometimes, I have felt like I have nothing to fill them with. I am just alone. No partner and no TV. But other times, something quiet and beautiful emerges, and I happy to be alive. Or I feel inspired to create something. For example, I have (re)-discovered how much I like to write.
I recently got a TV again, and a roommate. Part of me is drawn to just . . . flipping that switch . . . and getting sucked back into a “comfortable” routine. Especially when that comfort lets me ignore the part of me that really wishes I had someone coming to bed with me. But I like staying alive, and vulnerable, and awake. I like not having a set, mindless routine. So I will try and keep my TV for movies (small concession for the Bachelor and roommate time), and life–new, uncertain, sometimes empty–for me.