Thursday, January 2, 2020

Across the drinking world, it’s Dry January, and people are swearing off alcohol for a month. I don’t drink anymore, but in honor of the Dry January theme, Thomas and I have decided to stop watching all of our shows this month. That’s right: no TV, no movies, no shows. I know, I know. First world aspirations, right? Big whoop.

But for us, it is a big whoop. We’ve fallen into that thing, a trap perhaps, where every night after we put Rowan to bed we fire up the big screen in the living room where a hearth might otherwise be. We hunker down beneath soft blankets on our separate couches, and communicate only about the sweets we want to pause the show to procure from the kitchen, or about something absurd our characters are doing, or about whether it’s probably time for bed.

This was a wonderful ritual for surviving Rowan’s first six months. We felt like heroes by 7pm, well-deserving of our disconnecting collapse into passive entertainment. But we’ve mostly adjusted to being parents, no longer feeling frantic about how to manage a little person and the rest of our lives. And lately we’ve been feeling a little listless and empty, and our waistlines are growing, too. We don’t read. We cuddle less than we used to. We numb out.

There’s a saying I heard from the online recovery folks, If you sense something is missing from your life, it’s probably you. I related to that a lot when I was drinking, but I don’t feel that I am missing from my life anymore. What I feel is hunger for something that TV can’t satisfy, but gets close enough to obscuring that I can almost decide to stop looking for real satisfaction.

Or maybe I miss hunger itself. Maybe it’s that simple?

Regardless, my mantra this month is, if you have everything and still feel like something is missing, it’s time to start taking things away.

Thomas is reading in the living room. I’m off to join him.

Happy New Year.


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