Thursday, July 31, 2008

I don't now, but I used to.

I used to watch a decent amount of TV. I'd get up in the morning and watch CNN while eating breakfast, come home and catch the news, and maybe grab an episode of "The Simpsons" with Don. Now I can honestly say I watch maybe a half hour to an hour of TV of week. I don't watch a lot of TV now, but I used to.

But that got me thinking: what do I do with my time now?

I only have to look at the hand prints on my iBook to know what I do. I'm on the computer constantly, either writing blog posts like this one, or that one, or researching trips and trip ideas, or doing tons and tons of reading, or I'm actually inside the computer trying out DIY projects and living to tell about them.

And I'm not alone. People are watching less TV these days, and finding far more productive uses of their time. Just like me.

In fact, I feel like I'm busier nowadays than I ever was when I was in tons of organizations and zooming off to meeting every night and spending a ton of weekends in Adrian. Now, I look back on that time and wonder, "How the heck did I manage?" I guess I managed by spending my time differently. It's no better or worse than before.

Now, though, I actually look down on people who watch a ton of TV. "Jesus," I catch myself thinking, "don't they have anything better to do?" It's not very fair. Television can have its redeeming qualities. But to me, the real world happens outside of that glowing box. Maybe I've said this before?

The change began, I think, when I first discovered MySpace in the spring of 2005. It became my cognitive heat sink. I read the vast amount of blog posts from back when I first discovered MySpace and - again - I wonder where I had all that free time. My political and social and personal thinking was all there, out for everyone to see, and now I'm lucky to post something new to MySpace once a week. I don't post to MySpace so much these days, but I used to.

Part of it is that, while I'm not involved in so many things as a whole, I'm deeply involved in the organizations I participate in. It seems my to-do list for my recycling group is never ending. But what could be a better cause? My political and environmental passions both get stoked, and I'm doing what I love. Same with Rotary.

So all that time I spend watching TV - wasted time, when you get down to it - I'm busy doing something else. Not to say that watching TV is a bad thing. I still adore my "The Office" episodes, and football on Saturday, and watching "Wheel of Fortune" with grandma. But the news? I listen to NPR religiously on the way to and from work. Or I read it online. And trust me: I'm reading or listening to the smarter news these days.

After that, I'm busy taking walks or going for a bike ride or undertaking whatever "wouldn't it be fun if..." project that shapes and grows my brain a little bit. It's been a blast. What's more, you'll never hear me utter the words, "I'm bored." Never.

Because I'm never bored these days. But I used to be.

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