Saturday, November 14, 2009

Behind the Times and Loving It

One could argue that it's because I'm getting older (though I'm only 33), or because I have two young children, but I believe that it's mostly because of our decision to simplify our lives and live a more frugal and sustainable life that has caused it. I never would have guessed that I'd become so out of "the know" regarding popular culture. I couldn't tell you what television shows, movies, songs, or stars are popular. I haven't the slightest idea. What's more: I don't care. How far I have come.

Media unplugged: It began with not listening to the radio, when I became a stay at home mom, as I was no longer commuting to work. I also no longer watched the news in the morning as I prepared for the work day. With a young baby who was very sensitive and needy, we quit going to the movies, because he couldn't take being away from me for very long. When my son started paying attention to television and began to react to what he saw, we stopped watching many things when he was in the room. We then realised that there was little time or energy to watch these things when he wasn't in the room. Eventually we cancelled our television service. When my beloved newspapers started piling up after having our second child, I cancelled the newspaper too. I recently received some magazine subscriptions for my birthday (at my request), but I can't keep up and don't want them renewed.

Shop less: As finances got tighter, shopping lessened. I found one of the best ways to save money was to not go shopping! I started to fall out of fashion (not that I was ever terribly "in fashion"). The latest technical gadgets became far out of our reach. Flashy cars (not that we'd ever really coveted those either) were an impossibility without going into debt. The big house was too expensive to buy, decorate, and maintain. The "better neighbourhood" was too far away from my husband's new job and to live closer cost less so we moved. (BONUS: We love our current house, neighbourhood, and city much more than the last.) Without television urging us to "buy, buy, buy", we don't even know what we're missing.

Have you seen...? Have you heard...?: No and no. I keep somewhat up to date with current events via the internet, and I overhear friends discussing current entertainment. Aside from that, don't know, don't care. For my Christmas wishlist, I ask for DVD box sets of the next season of some of my favourite tv shows (many of which have long since ended) and throughout the year I slowly plod through them. I really enjoyed The Sopranos, but I still haven't finished the final season. I adore LOST, but please don't talk to me about it; I still haven't finished last season. Every now and then I borrow a season of Big Love or Weeds from the library, but I only get to watch a few episodes before it goes back and I'm on the waiting list again. (I should 'fess up here and admit that I am pretty aware of what is popular in the preschooler entertainment world. Somehow, we haven't escaped that!)

Don't you miss it?: I never thought I'd say this, as I used to be quite the pop culture junkie, but absolutely not. I am more aware now of advertising and marketing. When watching television at someone else's house, I feel assaulted by the commercials. "Leave me alone! I don't need that!" I feel.

What do you do with your time?: I've found that I have more time and energy (and money) for other pursuits. I cook more. I read much more. I spend more time with family. I play with my children. I vacation in the backyard. I socialize more. I blog. I grow my own food. I can and freeze and dehydrate homegrown or local produce. I research ways to save money, eliminate chemicals from our home, be more self-sufficient. With out the busy-ness of keeping up with popular culture, I live at a slightly (since I have two very young children) slower pace. The best part: now that I am not so distracted, I have and take the opportunity to savour simple pleasures and share these with my husband and children.

"...The positive psychologists confirmed scientifically, in other words, what simple-living advocates have been asserting for so long anecdotally: a life lived with less emphasis on acquisition might have the effect of leaving more time for richer, less resource-intensive life awards, making both the planet and the people happier." from "No Impact Man", by Colin Beavan.


  1. I still watch some tv, mainly football and 18 Kids and Counting (now that Jon & Kate is ending) but I do watch some shows online, normally in a small window while I get caught up on e-mails.

    I don't really watch news much, mostly just see NPR on my facebook feed. I don't really care about fashion. I buy things that are always in style and that I like. I buy organic USA made clothes so they cost more and I want them to be things I can wear until they wear out.

    I still need to work on slowing down. I'm ADD which doesn't help but I'm getting better at enjoying the little things and being less rushed.

  2. Welcome to APLS and thanks for participating in this month's carnival!

    We've seen that shifting our lives towards more sustainable options has become a self-reinforcing cycle. The more we slow down, the more we enjoy what we have, which makes us want to slow down even more.

    Here is to doing more of what makes us truly happy!

  3. I hear you! I started dropping off the map in grad school, and frankly, a decade later, I'm still behind on movies, tv, you name it. It's actually nice not to be a slave to what's on the tv!

    And I love your raised deck!!

    Welcome to the carnival!

  4. Thanks for the compliments on the raised deck (can't take credit for that, it was here when we bought the house) and the window boxes (18 feet of Square Foot Garden built by my husband and my father-in-law). Out backyard is our haven in the suburbs. When I step out the back door, I'm in another world. We're so very fortunate to have a yard (and neighbours' yards) full of mature trees. Our property is not large, but it is very green and peaceful.