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Watching Windows: Real-Life T.V.

Written on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 @ 4:15pm.

You’ve probably guessed that I’m not a fan of television. You are correct.

But I’m not going to tell you why I hate television. Not yet. Next time.

I wanted to tell you what I do watch.

When I sat down to work on this post, I parked myself in front of my television: the window.

A rough thunderstorm was blowing outside. It was not nearly as powerful as the tornadoes that passed through the southern states earlier this month, but still a fierce spring storm with high gusts of wind, pounding rain, and hails the size of marbles. Thunder rocked the building as I sat there, mesmerized by Mother Nature. I left the sliding door open wide enough so I could hear the thunder better and smell the rain. I love the smell of rain. I briefly thought about going outside to dance in the rain but I was a little bit afraid of being hit by lightning, especially after a bolt just came down and blinded me a second after I finished writing that thought (seriously! I kid you not). Ah! Make that twice! My eyes saw red. Yeah. Not going outside during this.

Watching this storm beats watching anything that could be on television right now. I can see the storm with my own eyes. I can smell the rain. I can feel the mist from the rain that’s seeping through the screen door. I could step outside and taste the rain. I can hear and feel the thunder rocking the building. Television has nothing compared to this!

The rainbow at the top of this post was one I saw when I looked out the window in the middle of doing homework at college a few years ago. My bed fit perfectly in the little nook of a dormer window and I would spend time laying on my stomach, watching outside the window.  It was a great view and I saw many things unfold in the world beyond that window.

How often have you dropped what you’re doing to marvel at a storm or rainbow? When was the last time you stopped to notice the leaves blowing through the trees? How often do you peel your eyes off your television screen, computer screen, or phone screen to notice the world around you?

I realize that looking out a window is much more fascinating when something different is outside – a storm, strange people, cute dogs, parades, and so forth. But you know what one of the best times is? When normal, every day life is going on. When the sun shines, when the birds look for worms, when people are going for a walk, or when the street seems completely silent. Each of these moments pass by and no DVR can record them. If you’re not watching, you miss out. Forever.

Real life is so much better than television because it’s real!

If you don’t pay attention, you will miss out on some of the most beautiful things in the world.

Sit by the window. Watch life unfold before you.

Take it a step further and place yourself in the scene.

The best part? You can be one of the characters.

You don’t have to stay at your house to watch people, animals, and nature. Go other places to watch. Coffee houses. Malls. Airports. Libraries. Parks. Churches. Zoos. Forest preserves. On public transportation. Everywhere and anywhere, really.

Next time you mindlessly sit down in front of the television, shut it off and park yourself in the middle of a set. Watch the real drama unfold. Be part of it. Create your own show.

You could be missing out on so much.

Ah, the storm is over now. The darkness is gone and the rain is falling lightly.

That was a great show.

And there’s more to come.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 @ 8:11 pm.

Another massive thunderstorm arrived a few minutes ago.

It just inspired and reminded me to finish editing this post.

The clouds are swirling and lightning has hit the same spot ten times in the last two minutes.

The building is shaking. I’m going to sit by the window again.

______________________________________________
On Thursday, May 26th I’m attending a meetup with several other bloggers at The Martini Club in Jefferson Park (Chicago). Hosted by Jenny Smythe from Minimalism Defined and Sam Spurlin of The Simpler Life, the meetup starts around 7pm. Stop by if you’re in the area! We want to meet and see you! If you think you can come, let me know via e-mail or @simpleLaura. (Psst: The last meetup was pretty awesome!)

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5 thoughts on “Watching Windows: Real-Life T.V.

  1. i heart you but i cant help but be amused that you are writing an online blog about getting away from the TV and living life. it just strikes me as funny 🙂

    1. I’m glad you appreciate the irony – it’s something I’ve thought of many times (and have considered posting about). The way I look at it: writing is writing, whether it be published or kept in a journal. Writing is a form of meditation, communication, and story-telling, among other things. Writing makes me think. All the interactions I do online helps me learn and I love to share my story. While some might argue that television can offer some of the same things, I find television to be mind-numbing and one-sided with the exception of some documentaries and news broadcasts (presidential speeches). The Office is pretty funny too. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. My wife Lydia and I ceased having cable TV and internet at home about two years ago, although we’ve limited our online usage to iPhones. But overall, our quality of life has improved. We have picnics on our backyard, taught our kids about plants and little creatures, walk around neighborhoods, and just feeling the warmth of the sun more often. Every time it rains, we wrap our kids in blankets and sit out on the porch to smell the fresh air and watch the trees move around with the rain. Occasionally we let our kids run wild and jump in the rain if it’s not too cold. 🙂 With more time outside, we’ve decided to hit our local downtown library. We meet bunch of homeless people and often strike up conversations with them, asking their names and what they’re doing now. Sometimes,  we take them restaurants or grocery shopping if they’re in desperate needs. What’s interesting is that although they need the money, most of the time, they just want to talk. It dehumanizes them when people overlook them too easily (I know I’m guilty of that).

    But all that experiences wouldn’t have happened without my wife, who’s a simple country girl (she grew up in an Idaho town) and is people-orientated. Yay for simple people!

    Seriously, you should check out Annie Dillard’s and Wendell Berry’s books if you haven’t yet. Their writings capture the beauty of simple life and intensity of nature. 

    Cheers,
    Nick

  3. I tend to feel depressed after watching reality t.v. shows – almost like I lost a few brain cells and valuable time. After watching a beautiful sunset or storm through a window, I feel exhilarated. That tells me right there what I should be doing with my time.

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