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Turning off the TV

November 14, 2012

I lived without a television for four years, first in university residence, then with my first roommates.This doesn’t mean we didn’t watch anything – we all had laptops with DVD drives, and the capacity to *ahem* share files.  When Mister and I  got married, he brought his TV with him.  We chose not to connect the TV to anything except the PS3, both because of finance and as a lifestyle choice.  Other changes came with marriage too, like spending more nights at home and changes in my social circles.

My TV habit grew as I transitioned into my MA and job as a TA, both of which were much more isolated for me, involved a type of work and focus that I struggle with most, and came with environments in which I found little support. TV was a retreat from the stress, a mental break after a rough class or difficult readings.  Later, when we were both working 6 days/week on opposite schedules, TV became a transition for us in getting home, a way to make home feel less empty when the other wasn’t there.  Beyond the habit of it, the external images and noise allowed me to tune out my internal noise, giving me a break. But that just put the voices off until later. They always came back, often when I was trying to get to sleep or to do intellectual work (the only intentionally quiet time I really had).

The idea of taking TV out of my life has come and gone over the past year. I went in stages, but no real change resulted. His active support has always been available, but it was my self-discipline that was the problem.  Moving here, knowing I would be home most of the time, we talked about getting rid of the TV, or hiding it in the closet, but this living room is bigger room so the TV doesn’t feel so dominant, and ultimately, this place came with cable included.  I love having access to channels like Discovery and Geographic ….  which almost acted like a gateway drug to the others. So initially, I had decent habits. I went through a stage where when the TV was only on if I was working on something with my hands (prepping veggies, crocheting, etc).  But I still wasted time (and developed a serious hatred for commercials after having lived without them for seven years).

Real change happened when I realization that I like myself better without TV in my life.  And I think the difficulty in the transition this time was eased this time by the amount of time I have been away from home, working in Toronto for the internship or being at various conferences. It has been much easier to keep the TV off after having weeks without one than to turn it off after weeks with it. It certainly was, and sometimes still is, a struggle to accept to the quiet around me.  Living in quiet has been a huge change for me!  I have music on when I work in the kitchen, and some evenings, we will watch one of the shows we have kept (seriously, who feels the need to give up Sheldon?), but most of the day, and most days, the TV is off.

The biggest struggle in all of this was facing myself. Having to hear my own mind, work through my emotions, deal with the levels of distraction/self-criticizing/actual issues/various voices/desires/plans/duties….. Its been a process of learning to appreciate silence, or my mind’s version of silence.  I still procrastinate and take breaks with ipad games, social media, and the like, but these take up so much less space in my life. I have found other ways of having down-time after being out and about or busy that allow me to stay more connected to the world while still feeling refreshed.  I am more comfortable with myself, my choices and my plans, likely because I spend time working through my head. I feel closer to my husband when we read together than when we watch TV together. I get more done, even on days when I don’t “do” anything.  I appreciate the refocus onto the people around me, onto the space around me, onto myself.

 

 

 

and back to the …ug…

November 12, 2012
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After five weeks, I finally got comments back from my supervisor, and have begun the painful process of editing. Its not that bad, all things considered…. she told me first thing that the project was in good shape and that, with some editing, it can be defended this term. Later, she complimented my writing ability and style (which, after reading three chapters of her comments, made me dance!). Her comments are direct, sometimes brutal, but always fair. She put in notes of things she will ask me about in my defense (…which read almost like threats….). I appreciate both what she is doing and how she is doing it. BUT:

I spent three hours today trying to find info on something I mentioned offhand in chapter 1. I gave up.

I Ctrl F-searched for a specific word in 26 documents of reading notes before I found the quote I was looking for, only to discover it was not the quote I thought it was.

I called my dad to help me figure out how to properly refer to the uncertain colonies in the indeterminate time period I referenced.  He’s smart… he figured it out for me!

I spent 45 minutes trying to locate a source for which I have reading notes, properly cited, but have no recollection of reading…. I have all my pdfs in one place, all my books in a box right beside me… I know the content of this chapter, but the book title, cover design, and editor’s names mean nothing to me… No idea where or when I read this chapter…

I wrote arguments against my supervisor’s comments and against my own comments, in comment bubbles.  Word had trouble keeping the bubbles together at one point… I had three pages of comments in a single argument. Then I deleted them all and wrestled with my dog. I have to go back to that tomorrow.

This was only chapter 1…. and its not finished yet.

The only reason I can’t honestly say that I loath this project is that I am too excited that the end is in sight!

Happiness means living in the moment?

November 9, 2012
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I was recently re-introduced to Ted Talks, which I love. One of the newer ones posted was this one, in which Researcher Matt Killingsworth presents findings that suggest that not only are people generally happier when living in the moment, but conversely, they are unhappier when their mind wanders.

As the presenter says, mind wandering is ubiquitous… but, for ADHDers… well, come one… what is there to say?

(The academic side of me wants to clarify: I understand he did not present his research parameters, does not address mental differences like ADHD or depression… yes, There is truth in the concept and it caused some reflection… but I just keep laughing at it.)

Halloween 2012

November 4, 2012
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Full Draft Sent!!

October 2, 2012
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Thanks to something like 12 hours of editing with my Mom and Dad, a full draft of the thesis has been sent to my supervisor for editing.  (THANKS MOM AND DAD!)

… ug…

I just pray it is legally and logically sound… I don’t want to re-write another chapter!

It is a much better product than the original draft, but I am mentally and emotionally done with this project. I am hoping that the only edits that are needed are minor, and that I can submit by mid-November. While I wait for her reviews, I get a breather and don’t have to think about it for a while… for which I am grateful.