Tuesday, May 31, 2011


About six months ago, my wife and I gave away our television.

We came to the decision one night, while we were rearranging our apartment. We looked at the wall that was dominated by our TV—not that it was large; I'm still in school, after all—and realized that we were trying to organize our living space around this one thing neither of us thought was that important. Then, we realized that we were spending hours at a time just watching the damn thing, letting our impulsiveness and laziness get the better of us. So, we did the only reasonable thing and promptly sold it. (I admit I was ambivalent, though, about the person who bought it from us: a fellow student who could use the TV to entertain his two-year-old. Start 'em young, right?)

Life changed the next day. Suddenly, we had time to do a number of things we'd simply never made time for when we had the TV. My wife took up knitting, I read about twice as much, we both worked more effectively, and (of all things!) we began to talk a lot more. (Full disclosure: we still use Hulu and Netflix on demand, but we severely limit our time with these to under 4 hours/week.) What's more, I believe this rather insignificant change (in the grand scheme) made possible two key changes for us.

First, my wife discovered, by way of using free time to surf the web for ideas rather than stare at the TV, the community of small-scale organic farming and self-sufficiency. Subsequently, she landed an internship at a small organic farm near my school, and she's loving it. It changed the way she views the place where we live: where before it was all East Coast jack-offs and douchebags, now we see that there's a rich community of people who care about good food, local economies, doing good work, and environmentalism (among other things).

This change in my wife's life had some effects on my, quite understandably. One of the unforeseen consequences, though, was the seed of an idea: life doesn't have to be the way people tell me it does. I starting playing around with the idea of leaving academia and becoming a farmer. That seed of an idea starting germinating, and once it broke the soil, I knew everything was going to change in my life. When I started to realize that life could be what I made of it, that I could question some of my own long-held assumptions about my future, then I was freed to challenge my longest-held belief: God's existence. Even then, at that first moment of recognition, I could see where it was heading, or (to continue the plant metaphor) what fruit it would ultimately bear.

And you know what? I wouldn't change these past six months for anything. And they were all made possible, and made so exciting, because we got rid of the damn TV.

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