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I don’t own a TV. Don’t really need it for anything, as most things I’d want to watch I can stream online. I figure, if I can’t find it online, I am better off anyway–I have other things to do with my time.

Whenever a new friend comes by for the first time, I give the house tour: “…and this is the living room.” Their eyes dart around. Something is missing. “Oh! You don’t have a television!” The tone ranges from incredulous to respectful, depending on the age of the friend and the depth of the friendship. If nothing else, this can make for an interesting conversation.

The incredulous friends ask questions, genuinely trying to ascertain what on earth I do with my time instead of watching TV at night. And while my answers vary depending on how much work/schoolwork/housework/socializing there is, what I do most of the time is think.

This can sound odd to some, but I simply sit in my living room and ponder. I watch the string of lights on my wall and listen to the murmur of my thoughts. I like to observe whatever arises in the silence: sometimes it is a problem or a feeling I’d been trying to put out of my mind all day long. Sometimes, my mind craves information on a particular subject (this usually ties in with whatever I’d been thinking about/trying not to think about all day). Sometimes, I notice that it is getting late, I am tired, and I should probably go to bed soon.

Sitting in silence is not always easy; in fact, it can take quite an effort to make myself stay. Some thoughts can be inherently uncomfortable, and yes, there are days I desperately wish I did have a television. But I don’t, so the furthest I can escape is a good book. At the end of a long day I don’t always feel like reading, and thus I have little choice but to come back to my thoughts. And I am always glad that I did.

Sometimes I think of the things I’d be missing out on if I’d been watching television instead. I have had some great thoughts (some more life-changing than others) and have solved some challenging internal puzzles. Even though I never know what I will find in that time of self-reflection, looking back, there is usually a sense of accomplishment. My thoughts are not always pleasant or happy or streamlined, but I think I owe it to myself to be heard. And thus I show up, every week, and tune in to the inner workings of my mind.

Let me see what’s on today.