Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy Groundhog's Day

Today is Groundhog's Day. It is also St Brigid's Day, Imbolc or Candlemas. These are local or religious celebrations for a celestial event for earth dwellers, the cross quarter day or the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Thank heavens we are starting the second half of winter. Something seems to turn for me after this halfway point. I can feel the days getting longer and my energy returns.

I am definitely in winter mode.

Last night I watched three hours of television. I felt like the epitome of sloth by the end of the evening. Granted three of my four favorite shows were on (all with new episodes).

These episodes called too...."Ugly Betty" was unveiling a mysterious new character, "Grey's Anatomy" had two outstanding marriage proposals, and "ER," a hostage situation. I am so caught up in this fake reality that I couldn't miss a single show. Granted I folded laundry and knitted, so the night wasn't a total loss, but there is something about being lost for three hours in these manufactured worlds.

My world, my reality lost precedence last night. I felt sluggish and unsatisfied when I went to bed. In the summer, when the daylight extends beyond 8 pm, I don't have a favorite show. Television is a way I pass the long winter nights.

I go through periods when I put myself on a TV diet but it doesn't seem to last when I am in winter mode.

My friends and I talked last month about "screen time." We pledged to limit ourselves to two hours a day. Two hours feels like an outer limit, it's really a lot of TV watching. However, when I consider computer time, the two hours adds up quickly. I definitely spend more than two hours screen time a day. My computer time also drops considerably in the summer. It's about diversion, getting through, surviving winter.

Some years are better than others. This year the weather is mild with little snow so I have been hiking a lot more. Last winter I was snowshoeing. Maybe my memory is playing tricks, but last winter seemed better. I miss snowshoeing. I miss the breathing heavily and challenge of walking through snow. I miss the beauty of the frozen landscape, the clean snow, the cold wet air after fresh snow.

I don't remember watching TV last winter. But that is the curse of being caught up in fake reality, I experience a state of amnesia during the hours I am watching. Life is suspended and even though I am folding laundry or knitting, "Ugly Betty" is what's happening. And even though "Ugly Betty" has a redeeming story line (what a plucky young woman!), it isn't my story.

So here it is half past winter. It's time to take stock and get serious about screen time. I need to let my reality take precedence. My first few weeks of cutting back on screen time will be challenging, but things will shift and I won't think about it any more. And before I know it spring will be here.

By the way, Punxsutawney Phil (the "official" groundhog) did not see his shadow this morning. The weather prognosticators are saying we will not get six more weeks of winter. Big surprise. Phil must know about global warming.

Anyway, it's time to wake up and get moving. It's time to step back into life.

Happy Groundhog's Day.

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