Blank Black Canvas

I’m staring at my blank TV screen this evening as I write this reflection. The black rectangular wall-hanging sits there increasingly intrusive in my living room with every click of my keys, but I don’t mind. It has been three weeks since no TV and things are going well! I’ve been able to use this time in the evenings in a variety of ways. There have been some observations of my own behavior during these first three weeks of 2022, in which I’ll share now. 

Some nights, I feel super productive. Examples of productive activities have included but aren’t limited to: going through my kids’ art and also re-categorizing our books.

Other nights, I am not so productive in the organizing or decluttering realm, but at least I am being unproductive while not watching TV. 

I downloaded an Audiobook app and have yet to start listening to any books. What do I do while I listen?

My husband and I have had some great discussions in the evenings. We’ve even traded back rubs and listened to a podcast for a couple nights in a row. 

My daughter created a homework packet for me to complete, which I am very much looking forward to. 

News Flash!!!! Avoidance of hard tasks still exists even without TV. Ugh, I was really hoping this wasn’t the case.  I have progress letters for work due in a little over a week that I have yet to start and I’ve only worked on my personal writing a couple nights this month. I’m finding it’s easy to replace one bad habit with another. 

For example, I find myself scrolling my phone and checking Instagram a lot more often. There have been some nights where I have just spent time on my phone instead of doing anything. But, at least I’m not watching TV, right?

Even in spite of avoidance tactics getting the best of me many nights, I have been Inspired by books I’ve been reading and podcasts I’ve listened to. I’ve listened to some writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs on podcasts who all started out in their journey by doing something consistently.  For many, it was writing. 

Ruth Chou Simons shared on her new podcast that before establishing GraceLaced, she had started out writing in her blog every single night. She said she missed shows like, The Office and Parenthood completely because she was writing. This of course reminded me of the TV shows I might be missing, but this also reminded me of what a gift this time in the evening is to write or create content. Being consistent with writing can lead to more opportunities for creative growth and work.  

These first several weeks are all about feeling out this evening time. I have created this space in my life by taking out TV, which is wonderful! However, I need to be careful. I need to be careful to not let new bad habits replace the old. I need to be careful to not let so-called productive tasks, such as organizing my spice cabinet, turn out to be another avoidance “activity,” keeping me from difficult, creative work. 

I am going to continue looking for what inspires, ignites, and fills me with joy in these forgotten evening hours. Some nights probably will be wasted. Some nights that I might think were a waste, could turn out to be a stepping stone for something greater. 

My husband mentioned to me the other night with the sweetest of intentions, “You can watch TV, you know. You don’t have to do this.” This was a night where I didn’t quite know what to do with myself and was in bed scrolling absentmindedly on my phone. I’m pretty sure I kept interrupting his reading with small talk and sighs of bored discontent. 

“I want to.” I replied assuredly. “I really do.”  I know there’s more. More out there waiting to fill this gift of space and time. I’m trying to figure it out. I’m working on it. 

In the meantime, the TV screen stays off. This blank black canvas hanging on my wall craves to be filled or covered with something meaningful. This new, empty space craves to be used with purpose. 

The question is, what?

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