filling the void

October 13, 2010

luddite living
i have now survived 2 days of my media cleanse. that’s right: no TV, no random internet surfing, and very limited email contact. since i’ve also been tracking my time, which i think is adding to the usefulness of this experiment.

observations thus far:
not checking email has actually not been so bad. furthermore, i’m surprised by how few *real* (non-spam, non-advertisement) emails i get daily! when i do finally perform my allotted checks, it typically takes less than 5 minutes to go through my inbox and respond to anything that requires action.

i crave media. i have just been replacing electronic media for paper, spending my time reading. prior to this experiment, i went through books at a snail’s pace, but in the past 2 days i have finished the perks of being a wallflower and made a significant dent in 168 hours.

i agree that television is not zen . . .
i am not convinced that reading books is inherently any ‘better’ than visiting sites and soaking things up on-line, but it is more focused and much slower-paced. i find myself thinking a bit harder, perhaps, but about fewer things.

i feel disconnected. i didn’t imagine this would be an issue, but i find myself uncomfortable that i can’t read my blog comments as they come in! i think, “what if someone writes something bad, and i won’t be able to respond to it?” — even though i can count the number of truly negative comments i’ve ever received on one hand, and i don’t delete them anyway. also, this may sound crazy, but it feels odd not being able to check on my stats! gretchen rubin could have linked to me again and i wouldn’t even know about it.*

maybe i do have more time than i think.

if i were allowed to shop online, i might be buying a swatch right now.
yesterday i spent 2 hours (!!) just reading (43 in the morning while eating breakfast, 65 while waiting for josh to get home from work before dinner, and 14 in bed). that is A LOT of free time, and this is on top of a full day of work (i left at 6:30 pm) plus a morning workout. before the media cleanse, i probably would have filled that time with reading blogs and an episode of desperate housewives. again, i’m not certain that reading is inherently ‘better’, but it did feel rather luxurious.

* this is an example of the effect of unpredictable positive reinforcement — even though by checking my stats i only find out something cool like that once in a blue moon, i am lured back to keep checking in the hopes it might just happen again.

cleanse Q&A
mary beth asked yesterday:

Are you putting a time limit on your e-mail checks? Are you planning to catch up with all the blogs you missed during the week, or just declare “Google Reader bankruptcy” and start fresh next week?

— no formal time limit, but i’ve just been trying to get in and out with no dilly-dallying. as above, i’ve been surprised that the checks have only taken 5-10 minutes each!

— i have so many subcriptions (>100!) that i don’t stay completely caught up with my google reader anyway, so definitely not. i have actually found that i like it better this way (by letting go of the idea that i’m supposed to have ‘read’ everything, i just read what i want when i want to).

anyone else planning to try this? i would love to read about someone else’s experiences — once the cleanse is over, of course!

100 dreams . . .
one of the exercises in 168 hours is to let yourself loose and just list 100 dreams for yourself, with no boundaries and no shame. no dream is too big (become president — not my dream, but perhaps someone’s!), too small (enjoy good chocolate regularly — ahh, more my scene), or too ridiculous/impractical (grow shoe collection to mammoth proportions).

i’m not up to 100, but i found it to be thought-provoking and rather fun.



workout: 4 miles total with 2 @ tempo (8:00/mi, 0.5% incline on the TM) + 15 minutes weights. i timed it for my little experiment, and let me just say that those 15 minutes felt like 90 (whereas the run seemed to go by in 10)! i wish that i liked strength training more.

you know what’s REALLY simple?: leftovers and not cooking at all! this is definitely a time-saver.

board prep: 10 PREP questions + review of 3 chapters (total 1 hr). yesterday i heard some boards-failing horror stories and i started to get nervous. but hey — if my moderate approach fails, i guess it will just be an expensive learning experience.


  • Reply Jenny March 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I am in the midst of frantic thesis writing, so I spend waaay to much time on my butt in front of the computer right now. I am thinking about you and feeling a bit envious of your media cleanse! I might go on a computer cleanse once I&#39ve dropped the book off at the printers. Great idea!

  • Reply lee March 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I&#39ve never done an actual media cleanse, but I often mark everything as read in google reader. I find that life goes on even if I don&#39t know what so-and-so had for dinner!

  • Reply Julie March 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I forgot to mention one other mini media cleanse I do. I love me some NPR, but I don&#39t listen to it in the AM. (I don&#39t watch TV in the AM at all but same would go for any TV news shows). I listen to silly Top 40 "morning zoo," or I used to love Howard Stern when he was on regular radio (my husband makes fun of me for this – how can a feminist listen to him?) or I listen to sports talk. I can&#39t hear about war and famine and foreclosures to start my day! I need levity in the morning!

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