Sunday, March 29, 2009

day 40: detox

When I lived in the States I was online hours each day. Between work and home, research and play, I sat in front of the computer a lot. I also sat in front of the TV.

When we moved here we decided not to have a TV and while we do want internet, it's taking a long time to get it connected. So (as you've heard me complain before) I use the computer maybe 3 hours a week, mostly for email and writing here. I don't read the news (ok I check the headlines just to make sure Obama is still hanging in there and fighting) but otherwise I've divorced myself from all of it: crime and celebrity and reality and drama and news and gossip and world affairs. In some ways it's making me ignorant, and ignorance is never a good thing. But in a whole lot of other ways it's the best thing I've ever done.

I don't miss TV. I thought I might but I don't. At night we read or play games and M occasionally watches a DVD on our laptop. I am a kick ass Monopoly player now and not half bad at Scrabble. I've been forced to break the dependence on these two things and use the time instead for more useful things, cooking (recently attempting to bake bread), cleaning, reading, being outside. I honestly didn't know how I'd feel about it and I am not saying I don't cherish my brief moments online checking in with you because I absolutely do, but I am not the laptop warrior I used to be, I go for a couple days at a time without checking mail and I've seen a TV once in 5 weeks and the volume wasn't even on (but Obama looked good up there and I'm sure he was being thinky about a lot of important things). I am not saying this makes me happy all the time, at times I find myself restless and melancholy, but I am getting more in touch with these things instead of pushing it aside and mindlessly entertaining myself.

Besides, all the woes of the economy? Terrible crimes? Horrible accidents? All those things the media throws about you like verbal pukeage and leaves you sitting in it with no idea what to do except lock your doors and be afraid? It wasn't working for me and I just didn't know it. I know it now and for the first time I can understand why it matters, or better yet why NOT having it in my life to that degree matters. The sun feels better than puke any day of the week.

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Jessica said...

I've only ever unplugged for 7 days at a time, but it's oddly refreshing. I think that all that information that I obsessively consume eventually makes you heavier.

maggie, dammit said...

I love this, and I wish I could do it. I honestly think I wouldn't be able to do it unless I was forced to. I think I could give up TV personally, but my family would never do it. As for the laptop? I simply cannot imagine it. I just can't.

But I feel like I should be paying close attention to this feeling of envy....

Anjali said...

I'm going through a quasi detox myself. Blogging less, reading blogs less, hardly ever on Facebook. It feels really good.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Here here! There's much to be said for actual living!

Anonymous said...

if my husband would let me, i would get rid of every tv in the house. i HATE the tvs!! when he was in afghanistan the only channel we caught was pbs. it was great.

Anonymous said...




Kyla said...

When I have empty time, I DO fill it with mindless entertainment...that has recently started to wear on me. That is probably a good development because once I start my premed courses this summer, that mindless free time will be in short supply.

I so hear you on the news, too, I try to steer clear, because it is just...pukeage. There are important things that do matter, but so much is worthless.

Amber said...

Our TV died in November and we haven't replaced it. I do see less news, and I kind of like that. We still get a newspaper, but it doesn't feel the same.

Now I'm working to cut down on the computer time. After Earth Hour last night I'm considering having a regular time set aside to 'unplug'. Start small and work my way up.

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your unplugging, too.

alejna said...

Hello, lovely Jen. I'm sorry I haven't been by in a while. I haven't forgotten you. I've just been more than usually crazy-busy (work, travel, and most recently a stomach bug), and haven't found time to get caught up with blog reading.

I'm definitely happier when I'm without TV, too. TV news is the worst. It gives people a warped sense of the world and their place in it, what with the sensationalism and manipulation of emotions.

I try to read news online, but I've been lapsing there lately, too. Plus it too often depresses me.

flutter said...

sounds divine.

Anonymous said...








de said...

there are many different ways to change our perspective, and each time we do, we get another idea of how someone else lives.

Especially for those of us who are plugged in all the time, it's hard to realize what a small number of us there really are.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your post really got me thinking about a few things. Our house has many TV's. I am working on ditching some, hubby needs to be convinced.
About the bread, chef Micheal Smith from the food network has a great bread recipe (no knead bread) which I have myself sucessfully made (SHOCKER, trust me) you should look it up.

Beck said...

WE cancelled most of our channels and now we don't get any good shows, so I spend a lot of time reading.
Glad things are going well. Hope J. is feeling better.

Hetha said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Glad you're tuning out to the mind numbing crap and tuning in to the real stuff. I should take a page from you!

Honesty said...

As long as you have a computer you are cheating and you play to be "real in the jungle" with your washing machine and other exotic stuff, but you are not. And your daughter is already addicted with the DVDs. Why to show a picture of her with a little girl playing together in the yard? When she gets home she has a laptop, but what about the other little girl? But don't worry, all this will not last and for some (excuse) good reason you will all go home safe in a few weeks! How nice this life of (false) adventure!!

Ally said...

Hey Honesty-- You've clearly not read much of Jen's writing because if you did, you: 1) wouldn't be so mean-spirited toward Jen because you'd know she's a generous and caring soul; 2) would know that Jen isn't claiming to be anything other than she is. She didn't say she's living in the jungle with no creature comforts whatsoever. She's doing it the way that works for her and her family.

Jen, I applaud this post and what it stands for-- "Detox" is the perfect word for adjusting to a different type of life, one without so many electronic responsibilities and distractions.

Anonymous said...



Jennifer said...

Yo, Honesty, I've seen where and how Jen lives. I've seen where and how others live in the area of Jen's village. Trust me, she's "doing it", and is as real as they come. As for Jen being on a "false" adventure, I would offer that you go stay with her for just a week. She'd let you, generous soul that she is, and you'd see the truth.

Jen, the sun does feel better than puke any day. Truer words have never been spoken, girl. My two week detox was heavenly and I'm sooo slow to enter back into the race.

laura said...

how ironic that when one decides to be "honest" they do so while hiding under the name anonymous. It's easy (and mean) to bash someone from behind your computer screen. Does it make you feel better about your own life? If you had actually bothered to take the time to scroll through this blg you'd see that Jen is exactly who she says she is. And when she feels she's come up short she is the first one to call herself out on it.
No one is trying to be anything they're not, they're just a beautiful family who wanted to live a simpler and greener life. And frankly I admire the hell out of them for it.

rant over

Anonymous said...



painted maypole said...

wow, those Asian folks sure like to comment on this post. ;)

I am so tempted to do this... unplug, but I don't know how to make it happen and work with the life I have set up. I want to find a better balance, though, even without a move to the jungle

thanks for the insight. as always.

Mariellen said...

I havent had a TV for over 20 years. When i watch the news on TV, (a rare event)I can feel a rising anxiety in me that tells me that maybe no TV has been a good thing. For certain things, I miss it - the olympics, some documentaries and comedies. Otherwise by using the internet, Time Magazine and a Sunday paper, I think I keep up to speed on world events pretty well. And I probably own far, far too many books! What is TV doing to our psyches? I hate to think. And in a time when work pulls on us constantly, I am more and more aware of the lack of balance of other things in my - and I suspect many other people's - lives; a balance that includes socialising, games, listening, praying, resting, gardening, art, crafts, and just BEING with our fellow humans. All these are needed by the soul. I hope the new gap you have found in your time is filled with many things, including silence and stillness, that will feed your soul and that of all your family.