CUTTING THE CABLE

I canceled my cable in November.

 

I wasn’t trying to cut back on my television consumption. Nor do I deny the value of the programming available. It’s popular to talk about how bad, shallow and devoid of intellect the old boob tube is. I’ve said for years, it all depends on what you watch. I admit my enjoyment of all sorts of random programs. History Channel or Discovery Health in the middle of the night? Yes, please.

 

Here’s the thing: I moved into my apartment the first of September and started cable service within a week. I opted not to get a DVR since I was living alone and my schedule, at the time, was wide open. I set a reminder on my Blackberry for the two first run shows I cared about seeing. Big Bang Theory, of course, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

 

After watching the first episodes of the new season of SVU, I found I simply didn’t care. It is impossible to say if the change was me or the show. The Law & Order franchises where something I’d always watched with my ex making it a part of a different time in my life. Plus,  I’ve seen so many episodes of the various incarnations the stories had begun to run together.  I’ll always think of myself as an Law & Order person, but it was clear I needed a break.

 

I went along for a while watching Big Bang Theory on Thursday night. It was an event. I’d typically bake off some refrigerated cookie dough and brew tea to enjoy while I watched in bed because I didn’t own living room furniture. Even with all the excitement in my life lately, that half hour was a highlight of my week.

 

One Thursday night in October, I turned on my modestly sized flat screen to the realization it was tuned to CBS. I racked my brain to figure out what I’d been watching when it hit me: Big Bang Theory is the only CBS show I’ve ever watched on a regular basis. I hadn’t so much as turned on the TV in an entire week.

 

It was strange to come to this place from television as my primary source of entertainment for years. Man, I’d loved my DVR.

 

I struggled with the decision to give up Big Bang Theory. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much. But Sheldon’s love for Spock makes my love for Spock seem normal and proportionate.

 

Lucky for me, CBS.com began streaming episodes of Big Bang Theory a few days after airing on the network. Problem solved!

BAZINGA!

WHAT’S MISSING?

 

I’ve got to say: My life is grand.
My best friend Kate sent me home from her house with a The Happiness Project to read on the flight home. In the book, Gretchen Rubin takes readers along as she spends a year exploring happiness with scholarly zeal and scientific curiosity. It’s a good read and got me thinking about happiness without feeling like a self help book. Her point wasn’t cultivating happiness as a cure for clinical depression. By her own admission, her life was good when she began thinking about happiness. Her project wasn’t about changing her life, but about being happier in life.

 

One concept from the book I latched onto was how happiness unexamined is less valuable. If you don’t think you’re happy, how can you be happy? The other side of the argument is if you have to ask wither you are happy, are you?  For me, thinking about happiness and what works or what doesn’t in my life is important. I’ve been some scary places ignoring unhappiness and depression. I’d plugged away at life. I’m not in that place anymore, but I’m ever aware of my relationship with happiness and stress. I think of it as being mindful – checking in with myself as if to ask “does this make you happy, Tina?”

I’d really love to read the book again, take some notes and share some thoughts here on my blog. I’ve subscribed to Gretchen’s blog, but haven’t played with all the toys and tools on her website yet. I’m undecided as to wither I intend to start my own formalized happiness project anytime soon. I’m busy and happy. My life fits me.

I have only one nagging concern – one missing and neglected piece. I don’t write anymore. It’s easy to see from my blog, I haven’t blogged. I’ve barely even Tweeted. I don’t have a notebook in my purse or nebulous bits of poems in my head. The idea of writing fiction seems as lost a dream as going to Harvard. Reading about Gretchen, lawyer turned writer, talking about doing what you love, but also working through frustration doing things which lead to long term happiness struck a cord. Writing is great… after it’s done. Or those rare times words gush before I’ve even thought about what comes next. Otherwise, it’s work.

I had been thinking on a blogging comeback – and blogging has always been a writing exercise for me – for a while before I took the trip to see Kate.

The question I began to ask myself: Why do I still think I ought to be writing?

The Happiness Project helped me find the answer: I go back to writing when things are bad in my life. Without fail, I look back on every traumatic event immediately followed by the purchase of a new notebook. When I’m happy, I’m busy living. Too busy to slow down and cultivate what is important to the deepest parts of myself? Seems to be a flaw in my logic.

The worst part is how difficult the process becomes when you haven’t kept up. Practice makes perfect. I know full well without discipline comes first in any creative endeavor. Typing out this post has been excruciating, to be honest, and I’ve taken much longer than I intended. What I’m pushing toward is publishing because once I have hit the button, posted to Facebook and Twitter that I have, I’ve accomplished something. One step at a time, I intend to blog consistently enough to call myself a blogger again. I’d love to build on blogging to make words my profession in some form or another.

First, I’m going to go ahead and hit publish.