Sunday, March 31, 2013

One Month Without TV

(Warning: Longer-than-I-expected-to-write Post)

I did it!  Some people doubted me but it was a lot easier than I expected!  I went one whole month of NO television watching.  This included watching movies (whether at home or at the theater).  For good measure I also threw in no Facebook.

Now you may ask, why would I give up television, movies and Facebook for a month?  No, it was not for lent as some have asked. I had been thinking about it for a while that I wanted to go on a TV break but didn't know when the best time to do it.  The reason I wanted to do it was I felt I was spending way too much time watching my shows and "passing" the time.  I wasn't doing enough of "me" time to develop friendships, interests and talents.  I soon realized if I were to undertake a challenge like this it had to be all or nothing.  So I decided on February 28th that on March 1st I wouldn't watch TV (or check Facebook) until April 1st.

When I told Sean about my challenge he said, but the Amazing Race just started!  How can you miss that?!  True, my all time favorite show just had their second episode of the season.  I had recently posted about how nothing stops me from watching the Amazing Race.  I knew for me to feel like I accomplished my goals, my challenge would have to be all or nothing.  That meant I had to give up the Amazing Race for a month (which was quite unfortunate that I picked March since it has 5 Sundays).  It took some time to soak in but Sean finally realized that our alone time together wasn't going to be watching TV either.  He asked if my challenge could be Monday through Friday.  Again, I told him it had to be all or nothing.  This was hard for Sean because a lot of our time spent together is cuddling on the couch watching a movie or some shows.

I wouldn't say I am addicted to Facebook. At all.  I am not one of those individuals who posts several times a day.  But I felt that if my challenge was to help me better improve myself, than I should give up some seemingly frivolous activities, like Facebook.  That was the end of my restrictions.  I didn't want to put too many that the challenge seemed too daunting.  I wasn't tempted to check Facebook but I was in a habit of when I had down time to check it, so I had to delete the app from my phone in case I accidentally checked it.

There were a couple of things I wanted to get out of this challenge.  By not being distracted by tv or movies I wanted to have some quality time visiting with family and friends.  I also wanted to find some more "me" time where I could focus on developing my talents and skills.  Lastly I wanted to feel happy and less dependent on television for entertainment.  Or simply put, I wanted to feel less addicted to television watching. 

So what actually happened?  I spent a lot more quality time with my husband.  I did go out and socialize more with friends and family.  I went to bed a lot earlier and therefore got a lot more rest than I normally did.  I did not get as much "me" time as I thought I would.  I do feel less drawn to the TV.  And I had a great realization about Facebook.

I view a lot of new technology and habits as necessary evils.  Smart phones, texting and Facebook fall under this category.  I hate the fact that our society has become so dependent on instant social media that real conversations have gone to the wayside.  I HATE when people are constantly on their phones, especially when you are having dinner or a conversation with them.  Almost everyone I know who owns a smart phone follows bad ettiquette (with adults being the worst!)  I dislike how texting and Facebook have replaced calling (or heaven forbid visiting!) someone.  What I hate the most is that I find myself slipping into these bad habits too.  But throughout my break I have soften (very little) to these necessary evils. 

I realized that this is the way our society is going and this has become the new normal.  Doesn't mean I have to like it, but I do have to accept it.  This was very evident with my Facebook ban.  There are many people who I do not have contact abilities other than through Facebook.  That is my only way of communicating.  Facebook is a great way to see the highlights of what people are doing.  In a sense you do stay connected with people much better than before.  I miss seeing what my friends are doing or the cute pictures of nieces and nephews that get posted.  I do feel a little out of the loop without being able to check Facebook.  So Facebook isn't all that bad as long as you aren't addicted to it (which I wasn't--just decided to include it with my challenge for fun).

Now how do I feel about the television part of it.  Surprisingly it wasn't very hard.  I can think of two times when it was really difficult.  Two weeks ago Saturday and last Friday.  Both of these days I spent a long time in the yard doing gardening and laborious yard work.  I was tired, dirty and all I wanted to do was relax, put my feet up in the air and zone out while watching a movie.  Those were the only hard days.  So my conclusion about television?  I will be watching the past episodes of the Amazing Race.  And probably NCIS.  But all my other shows?  I dont have a burning desire to get all caught up.  I think I might finally drop one or two of my shows.  I will enjoy my mind numbing television watching occasionally but I hope that I can remember what it was like to get so much more done without spending all night glued to the TV.

In conclusion I am very glad I did it.  It was a great accomplishment because I did have to sacrifice some good things.  I knew if I picked a more convenient time, say summer time when everything are reruns, than it would have defeated the whole purpose. 

A challenge, after all, isn't a challenge unless you push yourself and do something that is not easy.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Biking and the Ruins of the Old Zoo

A couple of Saturdays ago we decided to go on a mini adventure.  We loaded our bikes up on a very old bike rack and made the semi-treacherous trip down to Griffith Park.  Our bike rack is the rack we used when I was younger.  I told Sean the rack lasted a trip to Idaho but I dont think that made him feel any more comfortable heading onto the freeway. I do admit it was a little nerve wracking looking back to see our bikes bobble up and down.  We made it to Griffith Park in one piece without loosing any pieces. 
Sean's become a pro assembling our old school rack!

We decided that we would head south along the Los Angeles River.  Of course the river isn't very pretty but there was some very interesting sites along the way.  We saw a random grocery cart sitting in the middle of the river, homeless(?) people washing in the river and crowds of every demographic riding along the path.  It was really interesting to ride right along the freeway.  The traffic into Griffith Park was almost at a standstill so I was really tempted to say "hi" to the people who had their windows down.  Sean would have been too embarrassed so I didn't. 
This was the final location for one of the seasons of The Amazing Race

We biked to Los Feliz where we crossed over into Griffith Park.  It was a little bit of an uphill but nothing too bad.  It was a very warm, sunny day--perfect to be outside.  We found a nice grassy place to pull out our picnic.

One of my main objectives was to visit the Old Zoo.  I remember seeing an episode of America's Next Top Model filmed there and I heard it was a really cool place to visit.  What I didn't expect was the crowds!  I think it was the most crowded part of the entire park!  There were many different parties going on, a private photo shoot, family outings and some sort of Mascot get-together.   There were a couple of different old cages that you could explore.  I really wanted to know what those cages housed.  I would love to find an old map of this zoo but a search on the internet yielded no results.  There was a sign near the cages that explained that one reason why the cages were left "as is" was to educate the public on the advancement of zoological sciences.  The cages and conditions were a lot more primitive than what we see today at zoos.  No wonder people were all up in arms about how the animals were treated!  We tried to explore off the beaten path but couldn't find any more ruins.  We'll save that for a time when we didn't have to lug around bikes. 
I loved how this party was inside the enclosed area, awesome!

This area had an amazing view of Glendale.

The archaeologist in me loved this place!  Our society doesn't have many ruins so I got to take advantage of what I can!

These were some hardcore cages!

I seriously need to find a map and find out what animals were here.

This was the funniest thing!  There was some sort of Mascot get together because there were about 2 dozen furry people walking around (very casually I might add).

It was a quick trip back to our car but before we got there we found some deer just chillin' on the side of the road.  It was kinda ironic because I kept seeing the deer crossing signs and was thinking to myself, "I have never seen deer here-there cant possible be deer living in the middle of LA!"  Well I ate my words because there were 3 of them just chillin right next to the road.
I didn't get a good picture but if you look closely you'll see at least 2.

Our trip was sort of impromptu but it was a blast!  We cant wait to go back and explore some more!