“Real” rhymes with “Ideal”

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the vast chasm that lies between real life, and certain “ideals” that seem so difficult to attain.

This chasm, this discrepancy between the way we live our lives and the way we deep down wish we lived our lives is often times used as an excuse to carry on without making changes. The chasm is too big. The “ideals” become a distant mirage that isn’t really attainable, so why try.

Only, lately the ideals are nagging at me, asking me to come closer. The chasm makes it seem like a lot of work, but the ideals are worth reaching for, even if only barely. I should be clear… My ideals will be different than yours, and that’s okay. I should be clear, I will fail. I will stall. But I think I want to try. I’ll pick my battles, because they are mine, and I’ll see if I can’t get a little closer.

Many of the ideals I speak of have to do with parenting, or lifestyle, or just trying to resist the currents of our fast moving culture… it’s easy to get swept up. Today, I will deal with just 1 example… More to come.

Ideally, I would watch much less tv… Much less. If I’m honest, maybe none. I like watching “quality” movies and shows… Or at least that’s what I say. Lately, I’ve lost track of what is quality, and what is just mindless distraction. I’m slowly deciding that, just because something is “quality” doesn’t mean it’s redeemable, or worth my time. Almost 10 years ago I watched the Bachelor… and I just had a moment where I said… What am I doing? And I’ve never watched it again…. At that time, I also stopped my cable service… which at the time, meant something. Now, between Netflix and Hulu and Amazon… not having “cable” doesn’t mean anything.

So, I made my big stand 10 years ago against the Bachelor… but now… I follow a handful of reality competition shows, along with a few scripted dramas, a comedy or two, oh… and The View, and Jimmy Fallon (not giving that one up, ever). There’s the issue of “what” I watch and then there is the issue of “why”. Sometimes I think like my brain is probably feeling like a mental health patient, ready for all the voices to just shut up… but instead, I just keep the distractions coming. I “watch”, so that I can decompress… and yet… half of the shows these days make me feel anxious, and slightly disturbed. While waiting for Netflix to release the latest seasons of Mad Men and The Walking Dead, I gave Daredevil a try. After the 4th episode I got the same feeling I got 10 years ago watching the Bachelor… Only, I was torn… What was wrong with this? This is not ideal. That’s what’s wrong with it. I don’t need it. I don’t need the violence or the somewhat decent plot… I don’t need something that takes an hour or more of my day and adds nothing to my life.

But… I was definitely going to watch season 3 of Orange is the New Black… Again… 3 or 4 episodes in…. Why am I watching this?  Something about this feels wasteful. When you intend to watch 1, but go ahead and watch 2 more episodes… that’s 2.5 hours…. Hours I don’t really feel like I have. I have work I didn’t finish, I have a guitar I haven’t touched, I have sleep I need to catch up on, my house is messy…. I don’t have time for this… for something that doesn’t add anything to my life, except for clutter… compulsion… static.

I have a clear “ideal” on the matter, and the chasm between it and where I am now is pretty big… but why not try? Why not skip the rest of Season 3? What will I miss?

And now that I’ve declared it… it will be much easier to take the step.

To be continued….

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