I’ve created a list of 15 great things you can do.
- Give money to a charity;
- Donate blood;
- Help push another person’s car out of the snow;
- Loan money on Kiva;
- Hack a website that causes harm;
- Give a consensual hug to someone you’ve never hugged before;
- Reunite with a family member you haven’t seen in years;
- Be there for someone when they die;
- Tell someone you truly love about your feelings for the first time;
- Go 24 hours without using any power of any kind;
- Put money in another person’s parking meter when it’s empty;
- Give food to a homeless person;
- Ask someone who is alone at a restaurant to join you;
- Help a stranger bring their groceries in;
- Push someone’s car out of the snow for them.
What are your 15 things?
A toilet app is something you use when you’re bored, on the toilet, waiting for a meeting or appointment to start. My toilet app for long time was Facebook. Once I realized that I was giving way too much of my time, and by extension, outside advertising money to a psychopathic billionaire, I decided to change my toilet app.
Every writer will tell you to write everyday, and everyone who isn’t established will tell you they don’t have time. For some, this is still true, but for most of us, we spend quite a bit of our lives waiting for things, so do what I did, take a poop and write a blog.
Most people know that a person can change your life. Think about how different your life might be if you were beaten as a child or instead maybe nurtured. Imagine if you married a person who constantly enriched your life, made everything better. These things seem obvious though. A stranger could certainly change your life for the worse. I’ve been stabbed, and I don’t take anything positive away from that. It was just three guys trying to rob my wife and me. I walked away with my wallet, everything inside it, and a hand hanging open. My wife left with no physical injuries, and I got stitched up without any lasting damage, other than a cool scar and some pretty weird trauma.
I had a cashier today with a cool arm tattoo at my local Metro (grocery store). She asked me: “how is your day going so far?” Never in my entire life has a stranger asked me that question in that way. You get the repetitive “how are you” or “how are you doing today?” It shook me up a little bit, made me smile, so I said: “it’s going good so far. How about you? How is your day going?”
The dialogue felt very honest and real. She might say that to everyone, but that’s OK too. She found a way to connect by pushing a very subtle boundary. A stranger got me to emotionally connect with her, and I really appreciate that. Those subtle little things that we can do to connect with someone we don’t know can have a ripple effect.
A few kind simple words made me smile and think in a different way, think about how I can connect better with others. She left me with: “I hope the rest of your day goes well.”
It’s all very subtle and simple, and I know that people have more impactful stories than this, but anything a person can do to make another person’s life better is just awesome.
Thank you to the woman with the cool tattoo and life changing words.
Sometimes people will watch a really sad movie because they want to cry. I’m not generalizing. I know that watching a sad movie doesn’t make you the kind of person who wants to cry. Schindler’s list was pretty fucking sad or any movie ever where some poor asshole dies of cancer. There is a value in watching these things, but there are some people who will set out to watch a sad movie because they want to have a “good cry.”
If you’re like me, which you’re most likely not, you’re asking yourself “why in the name of Buddha would I ever want to feel sadness? It is an all consuming shitty emotion that makes you want to put a mother fucking gun in your mouth and snuff out your own personal universe.”
I hate sadness because I’ve had too much of it, so I can understand why people would want to chase happiness. You want to feel an emotion that you don’t get enough of.
A few people who have read 14 self help books and smile at themselves in the mirror every morning might disagree with this as they continue to look at themselves and say some shit like: “you’re the best you, and today you’re going to make a difference.” To those people, please destroy the post dated cheque you’ve written to yourself for a million dollars, and wake the fuck up.
I smile when I’m happy. Smiling doesn’t make me feel happy. Telling myself lies doesn’t make me feel happy. Smiling is a result of happiness.
I aim to feel contentment. To me that means that I’m good with where I’m at and what I have. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever strive for more. Aiming to feel happy all the time is as ridiculous as trying to feel sad all the time. They are nothing more than fleeting emotions.
That’s my experience. What do you think?
I’ve gone through 2 days without television. Overall, my happiness level has improved, although I’m a bit more irritable, and I find myself wanting to be more productive, which is difficult when you have children of any age, as they are constantly pressing you to do simple tasks for them. I truly love them though. The increased irritability is just speaking right now.
A notable change is that I’ve gone from 201 pounds to 199 pounds. This might not be significant, but I’m not purposely doing anything differently. I’ve just quit TV.
Physical fitness: 7.2
Due to the slight weight loss, I’m counting that as a physical fitness gain. Focus has also increased, while everything else remains the same.
What are your thoughts on TV? Do you watch a lot? Do you never watch it?
I sit quietly in an empty waiting room, waiting for my daughter to finish her therapy session, not wanting to leave and go shopping, just in case I’m needed, just in case she needs to leave.
I was recently asked how my life changed after my teenaged niece died. I ponder that even more, in this vacant space. I want to truly live my best life now. I don’t want to waste a single moment.
The rules are a bit different than the last time I tried. I can’t watch TV alone, and I can’t suggest to anyone that we watch TV together. If someone wants to watch TV with me, that’s OK.
I don’t have to be productive in the time that I take back from the gods of television, but during a lot of that time I naturally will be.
TV is about the only thing at home that makes me want to sit still. Although I enjoy reading well enough, I’m the kind of person who needs movement, so I would rather listen to an audio book or podcast while doing something physical, even if it’s going for a walk or doing some chores around the house.
TV takes me out of my natural self. It makes me sit still and be someone I’m not. I forget that I need to move. When I’m reading a book, that doesn’t happen. I’ll get anxious waiting for a chapter to end so I can go and do something.
I imagine this first half of my life and how it might have been different if I didn’t give 20 to 40 hours a week away to watching someone else’s story. I could have created more of my story. I could be more me.
I plan on writing a daily follow up piece to let the world know how the last half of my life goes with all this extra free time.
Today, I’m a muscular, not cut in anyway, 201 pounds, nearly 6 feet and two inches. Out of 10, 10 being the best, here is how I would describe myself.
Physical fitness: 7
Usually, my memory, physical fitness, and focus will improve without television, while my happiness will decrease. The happiness is a big one for me. It’s what drives me to wake up in the morning, and it’s why I self medicate with the TV pill. I’ll have to find new ways to stay happy.
What do you do to stay happy?
On a lovely summer night, three days after I moved into my beautiful new house, back in July of 2018, the most wonderful soul left this earth. After that, I drank more alcohol, smoked more weed (it’s cool – totally legal here), watched more TV, and ate more junk food. My niece overdosed on Aleve, but she realized she had made a mistake. She wanted to live, and held onto life the best should could, but a paramedic accidentally gave her morphine, instead of the life saving drug he meant to give her, twice!
She was the kind of person who would make fun of you then snuggle right up into you, the marshmallow with barbed wire on the outside. She seemed tough, but she just loved you completely, and that was all she needed. Close your eyes for minute, actually close them and imagine how you would feel.
Although I would do anything to take her death back, it has given me a lot of perspective, changed me. I don’t turn into a giant ball of stress when work piles up, and I know that every moment counts. I’ve been given purpose by her mother, my sister. We are starting an amazing organization together to help children and prevent future deaths. The weird thing is, I don’t even want to watch TV anymore. I don’t want to smoke weed or drink. I love junk food though, but hopefully that will decrease as well.
I want to work on being the best person I can be. I want a life of purpose and meaning. I want everyone in my life to know that I fucking love them so damn much, and the people I don’t love and don’t care about – well you’re probably assholes. You know who the fuck you are, so GFY.
So what will the last half of my life look like? I don’t really know, but I’m excited to find out. I’m helping to start an organization that will improve the lives of people, especially children. I’m writing, which is something I’m very passionate about, and I’m getting a lot of very cool technology projects for my day job.
People often ask: “if you could go back and give advice to yourself as child, what would say?” That child and the young adult who came after that, they taught me everything I know. There is no bit of wisdom that I’ve gained that wasn’t because of them. I’m nothing more than the sum of their knowledge. I should be asking myself: “what can I teach my future self?” The answer is everything. If I realize that I’m the teacher, and I’m responsible for who I’ll be, it makes me think in a very different way. My future self isn’t going to just bail me out of a miserable existence; he’s just going to keep doing whatever I’m doing.
My niece’s death was a clear sign that everything changes. I won’t let circumstance change me in an uncontrollable way. I’ll change how I want to change.
“I sit there staring into the distance, crying, balling, gasping, and short of breath. I can’t fill my lungs. I might suffocate, and I might welcome that. I’m completely defeated. I have nothing to live for, but I lack the courage to kill myself. My father beats me whenever he is in the mood, and I’m an easy target for bullies. That’s how I was everytime I wanted to run away but didn’t have the guts or everytime I stopped eating for days but nobody even noticed or everytime he gave me a black eye. I mean, he put my sister’s head through a fucking mirror one time, and he told us that if we ever called the authorities on him, they would take us away and put us with people who would molest us. What the fuck did I know? I was just an abused child. I believed what I was told. I would rather be with someone who beats me than someone who rapes me. I wish I could go back in time. I wouldn’t love him anymore. He never really loved me anyway. I would do things much differently. I would go back to when I was a child, and I would change everything. I would take his power away, every chance I got.”
“What moment would you start at? What would you do differently?” she asked.
“I might go back to the moment when my sister called the police on him so she could get her clothes. She had moved out, and he wouldn’t let her have her own clothes. I would tell her that she is brave, and I’m proud of her, instead of being ashamed and angry that she left. I might go back to the moment when he called the police on my mom because he was annoyed with her. I had come home thinking he had killed her, seeing police cars in the driveway. The cops asked me if he ever hit us or my mom. I lied for him, even though I thought my own mother might be dead. No, I think I would go back to the time he called the police on me. He told them I was on drugs, even though he knew I wasn’t. It was one of the few times I tried to stand up for myself. The fucking floor was dirty, and I said that I didn’t do it, but I would clean it up. He wanted me to admit that it was me and clean it up. I just left, for hours and hours. He was doing that weird thing he would do when he was stressed out. He would tense up his shoulders and start pulling at the back of his pants. I didn’t want to get another beating, so I left, but I wasn’t about to admit to something I didn’t do, and that’s why he called the police on me. He wanted to make sure he always had absolute control over me. That’s the moment I would go back to. I would change everything.
“Close your eyes, breathe deeply, imagine you are there, and tell me what you see,” she instructed.
I start to hear the dull sounds of a machine.
I’m on day 4 of no television. I think this is the third time in my life that I’ve seriously attempted it.
- No Netflix;
- No YouTube, unless it is for instructions or work;
That’s pretty much it.
I can watch Netflix if I’m with people who have for whatever reason chosen to watch Netflix, and I can’t really get out of it or find anything else to do, but in good faith, I have to try to avoid those situations.
Why the hell would anyone ever want to give up TV? I had successfully given it up in the past, and the other two times I did, I wrote novellas. They were highly productive times for me. The longer I give it up the more things I’m able to achieve. I even had a budding, paid, fiction writing career.
What Happened Before?
The reasons I failed to stay away from TV in the past are pretty much the same reasons that people get back to alcohol or heroin. I just wanted to be happy again. I get out of my own head – don’t have to think, feel, and do. I can just checkout at the end of the day.
I guess I will find that out in the days, weeks, and months to come. I’m getting a lot more done now, and it’s only been 4 days. Let’s see what happens!