I've been thinking lately about my relationship with television. A couple of things got me to thinking about this.

First, over the holidays, we had a number of ice and snow storms come through that left a lot of ice built up on the satellite dish, killing my reception. And I didn't miss it a bit. In fact, knowing that I couldn't watch TV felt somewhat liberating. I was able to focus on my transition from vegetarian to vegan, fast, and work on things around the house without the temptation to 'zone out' for a few hours. I was disappointed when I glanced at the satellite receiver one day a couple of weeks ago after we had some melting and saw the light on indicating it was recording a program. The temptation had returned.

The second thing that happened was a brief talk I had last night with a visiting friend. She mentioned how reading a book, or listening to a book on tape, is an effective, though primitive way of turning off the thinking mind. Very much like some forms of meditation where focus is brought onto a single subject. She then said that even TV was somewhat like that. It temporarily destroys the ego, in some ways. She was then quick to point out that this isn't a true spiritual experience, but it's mimics it closely enough that it explains why so many people watch so much TV. People watch TV to escape, in a not-so-healthy way.

That discussion and my recent TV-less weeks got my to thinking about my relationship with TV over the years, and one thing is clear to me. At the times I've been most happy, most comfortable with who I am and what I'm doing in life, I've watched very little TV. Conversely, at those times I've struggled with depression, anxiety, marital problems, etc. I've generally watched a lot of TV. Knowing that I've been in a pretty 'good place' lately, it was no surprise, then, that I didn't miss it when it stopped working. I can remember back when my ex and I were first married. For a number of years we'd have the cable turned off in the summer-time, since we were so busy entertaining, traveling, and just being outside enjoying ourselves, that we couldn't justify the money spent on TV that we didn't watch! And now, over the last year, I've seen my interest in TV dwindle to the point where I watch it for no more than a couple of hours a week. I'm seriously contemplating having the service turned off. I can't justify $75/month for the maybe 8-10 hours of TV I watch in a month. I can Netflix the couple of programs I do watch when they come out on DVD (namely the Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie are my heroes.)

Also, I've committed to try to read at least one book a week during 2009. So far I'm ahead of schedule having read 3 and a half books already. It feels good to be reading so much again, though I do hear my friends' voice in my head saying that movies and books aren't that far removed from the escapism that TV presents. It's still better than the boob-tube, though. So, I'll be looking at the papers I signed with DirecTV last April to see if I have any kind of commitment to them. If I don't, it's getting turned off. If I do, I'll wait out the contract first. I may, however, get myself a BluRay player, though, as I do like to watch movies now and then and high-def is the way to go...