I have discovered some important truths about life today. Yes, I'm slow - it's taken me 26 years to figure these things out.
1.) My mother was right. TV does rot your brain.
2.) God was right. Material stuff will never make you happy.
3.) Old folks were right. Technology is not always a good thing.
There! Three essentials to happy living. To explain: First, I have had some of my most depressed days just sitting around watching TV. Being a stay at home Mom, I have learned that the TV must not even be turned on, because once it's on, it doesn't like to turn off!! It takes over your mind and you become passive and lazy. With the TV off, life turns on. The possibility of the day unfolds to you. You have every opportunity at your feet. Yes, you must do those things that need to get done. But in those spare few minutes you can taste life. A cold glass of ice tea out on the porch. A few pages of a wonderful novel. A brief conversation with a friend. A thankful prayer. A sunset or sunrise (I don't usually make it up for that). Watching the rain fall. Listening to the thunder. Trying out a new recipe. Enjoying a glass of wine. A dinner with friends (at home! I'll come back to that later). Playing with your baby. Smelling the freshly washed clothes you're folding. Watering a few plants. Taking a few pictures. Possibilities are endless. But turn on that TV and your day will suddenly be filled with the latest crappy movie, episodes of CSI, HGTV, you name it. And what did you gain for it? You watched someone else live the life you want. You were tempted by the advertisement of the possession you don't currently own. You saw the preview for the next show or movie coming on. But nothing real.
Back to dinner at home, what is with our culture of eating? So many restaurants. Eating has become entertainment. No wonder we're all so fat. I have recently started the practice of inviting friends to dinner at home, not out at a restaurant. And the experience has been so much better. There is something wonderful about opening your home to friends and family, sharing your life. Getting personal. We are a people of closed doors and not even knowing our neighbors. How sad. So lonely.
My second lesson I've learned, stuff won't make you happy. The laptop, the new car, the new kitchen gadget collecting dust, the cute clothes for the baby, the bigger house, all of it. Just metal, plastic, fabric, wood, nothing. Yet we strive our whole lives for the next purchase. Just a little more. Just one more thing. The newest, latest, greatest whatever. Our houses are the graveyards of Walmart, Target, and department store purchases. Just collecting dust. Rotting. Rusting. Gone.
The third lesson is really about busyness. Are you enjoying life or are you so "plugged in" that you spend all your time reading pointless emails and sending text messages? Are you missing your real life for the little device in your hand? Or the computer on your desk? The phone on your ear? Can you really just turn it off? Not on silent, not on vibrate, but off? What is it that you think you'll miss? Why do you need to know right now? What can't wait an hour, 4 hours, a day? Is it more important than your life? Do you know how to be still? I mean STILL.
Try this for me:
Take one day. One day out of the thousands in your life.
1.) Don't turn on the TV.
2.) Don't buy anything.
3.) Turn off the cell phone, the computer, the blackberry, the trio, all the little buzzing and noisy gadgets of your life.
4.) Learn what it's like to be unreachable.
5.) Watch a sunset
6.) Slow down the pace.
It's just one day. One little day. And everyone has a day. I don't care who you are. All your excuses are bullshit.