Making Time

We folks who live without television are forever being asked what we do with our time. And surprisingly, I find I also often get asked how on earth I get so much done. I have a suspicion there is a connection here. Many people feel rushed. It probably doesn’t help that the whole advertising industry spends a lot of time telling us how frantically busy we are, and therefore, how much we need their time saving thing. Being able to manage time, and more crucially, work out how we want to use it, is critical for any kind of happiness.

Television is a considerable eater of time, which I think gives very little in return. There are others. I think the car is a serious culprit too. People who balk at a ten minute walk will think little of a two hour drive, weirdly. I spent a while in an urban environment where I was able to race other mothers to playgroup and school. I could quite often beat them, by taking pedestrian-only short cuts, not being caught in traffic, not having to get children in and out of said car. Instead, I’d get a nice walk and a chat with my son, arriving at our destination invigorated, and also relaxed, while the time saving device that is the car would bring in stressed mums, and grumpy children, frequently somewhere behind us. Time saving? I don’t think so. And when you add in the environmental and health costs of the car, it’s insane. But so many of us believe that even over short distances, the car is faster, they never actually check.

The things that are supposed to be quicker all too often cost us in quality of life instead. They encourage us into the pre-packaged, one banal lifestyle fits all model. And they accumulate. Got to go to the supermarket because it’s cheaper, so got to have a car to go there, and got to have a big fridge and freezer to store it all in. How much time does it take to clean car, fridge, and freezer? How much work time goes into paying for them? We work longer hours to buy labour saving devices so that we can sit in front of the television. And this is supposed to be progress?

Being a druid means taking time for things many people do not ordinarily do. Going outside and spending time in nature being right at the top of the list. You can’t be a druid by spending all your spare time collapsed in front of the television, or playing on facebook. Many people who explore druidry find themselves on a path towards more real and immediate ways of living, replacing the empty, fake activities of modern life with things of intrinsic value. So many druid and pagan folk I know have taken up gardening, walking, brewing, baking, woodwork, needlecrafts, and so forth. We go in for storytelling, music and poetry, taking control of our entertainment as well. I don’t think it’s possible to get very far into modern paganism without rejecting many of the assumptions of modern life.

It doesn’t mean rejecting everything the twenty first century has to offer and heading off to live in a mud hut. It does mean learning to tell between what is adding to your life, and what is reducing you. Ten minutes of social networking to catch up with friends can be very productive. Three hours playing the pointless games on offer leaves you with very little. A whole evening vegged in front of the telly won’t give you much, because it all blurs into one squelchy mismatch of soon to be forgotten impressions. One thing watched thoughtfully can be remembered and savoured. In glutting ourselves, we become unable to properly experience. Slowing down, taking the time to relish, allowing ourselves to anticipate and appreciate rather than trying to have it all now, we gain far more. It’s not as though diving into all the available modern addictions brings any real joy or satisfaction. Just people who are rushing round consuming, whilst being told how busy they are and how much more stuff they need.

It is entirely possible we only get this one lifetime. None of us knows how long our life will be. Any of us could die tomorrow. If you aren’t using your time the way you want to, why are you squandering it? The tomorrow you are put things off until may never come. If you get to old age and get to look back, are you going to feel pleased with what you’ve done, reflecting on good memories of a life lived to the full, or are you going to regret too many hours thrown away for too little?

How do I spend my time without a television?

I have a life.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Making Time

  • druidcat

    🙂 This reads so well! Passionate stuff, lady 🙂

    However, as I do quite like my TV, I feel I may have to blog a retort in due course *grin* It’s about balance – knowing when to turn the telly off and Do Something Less Boring Instead (as Russell T Davies once said!). I find myself being guilty when I’m reading general entertaining trash, because I could be doing something more productive… but the key is its’ usefulness. Entertainment is valuable too, and rest. Perhaps we’ve just come to expect that too much, and forget there’s so much more we could be doing.

    Mind you, there is so much rubbish on TV, I do find I watch recorded dramas and documentaries on my terms these days… amuses me how workmates and family are flummoxed how I survive without soap operas! 🙂

    Here’s a topic for you. Coming back from Camp(s) this year, workmates asked Jim and I what we’d done on our holidays. Worked with falcons, ritual, woodcraft, baking, writing, axe-throwing… so much creative stuff! The stares we got… what do Muggles do with their spare time? 😉 x

  • Argenta

    I agree completely on the TV bit… rarely watch it myself unless there’s a film I really want to see (and that’s only when I somehow find out what’s on, which I rarely bother). For me, it’s a huge waste of time, just like computer games, and I can’t bring myself to engage in either — I value my life far too much for that.

    However, I’m a big fan of my car, as I live removed from most signs of civilization. Where I live, the first shop is two kilometers away, and kindergarten is five. The first little town is seven to ten, and a city over thirty. If I didn’t have a car I would be stuck with people I can barely talk to, and my kids would be in grave danger of being overrun, windswept, soaked or frozen if they had to walk all that distance every day to get somewhere. (Though we also walk around a lot.)

    I guess each of us has to find some sort of balance which is practical and in tune with our beliefs. And, yes, since turning pagan I walk a lot more, and give much more value to my “real” life.

  • autumnbarlow

    Slowing down and taking time to savour things chimes with me; it also made me think of society’s current attitude to food. With more than half of the population of the UK overweight now, overweight is “normal” – if normal means what most people are. So much choice, so much shiny sugar soaked temptation…we glut on everything, don’t we!

  • bish

    Heh. Do you remember that kids telly programme… why dont’ you turn off your tv and do something less boring instead, I think it was.

    My telly is not essential but I’d miss it. Mainly, it plays BBC News 24 for about fifteen minutes in the evening, and of course Dr Who and a few such tidbits.

    But a wholehearted ‘yes’ to your blog post. Spent the day exploring a private arboretum in 65 acres – didn’t even know there were that many species of oak (over 200 and all there) ;et alone everything else (about 2200 of them).

    But truly, I’m too busy living a life to watch much telly too. 🙂 Facebook though…

  • Autumn Hazelhewn

    Insightful post as usual. It really is true how many of our modern “conveniences” have become time-sinks.
    I have never owned a car nor do I even have my license but I do find it dependent on where you live. The key is to find a place where everything is close by (20 minute walk..etc.) or find a city with a good public transit system. My partner and I think nothing of walking for groceries and carrying them back, although we get many a strange look doing it.

  • Athelia Nihtscada

    Oh good, I’m not the only one who refuses to get cable and watch TV! Between my volunteer work, 3 jobs and spending time with family/friends, I don’t really have the time for TV anyway.

    We did a free trial of cable TV for a month and I think we only watched it three times. We didn’t like the adverts and couldn’t see the point of paying for entertainment that just gets interrupted at the good parts by irritating ads. I do have a few TV shows that I like, but I either watch them online when I have time (a few ads and it’s free!) or buy the DVD set so I can watch whenever I want (no ads!).

    My mother used to have the TV on in the house 24 hours a day because she is absolutely addicted to it. (It was even on while she slept!) That could be part of the reason I will never have cable TV. Entertainment is part of balance, but not when it takes over one’s life, IMO.

  • Nimue Brown

    Balance and conscious choice are definitely key here. Thanks for all the wonderful input folks!

  • celticchick

    Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a television. I know I would be reading more without a t.v. If I was forced to live without one, I could adapt. It’s taking that step and getting rid of the t.v. that’s hard for me.

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