âš½ We Americans, according to research studies, are more likely to watch television than engage in any activity other than sleeping and working. Studies show that what we watch can shape our thinking, political preferences, and even our cognitive ability.
Now, I agree with most of that statement, but Iâ€™m a bit surprised that it affects us cognitively. The study goes on to say the evidence suggests that time spent in front of the screen can have negative consequences, particularly when the shows are mostly entertainment. The harm seems to come from the fact that it replaces more enlightening ways of spending time. I think most of us will agree that we spend too much time watching that darn TV. A daily average for my wife and I would be about 3 hours, and truth be known, thatâ€™s probably excessive.
My first wife and I got married right after high school in 1959. I went into the US Air Force shortly thereafter and she joined me in 3 months at Lackland AFB, TX. Four months later I transferred to an air base outside Dallas (Perrin,) and we lived there for almost 2 years. During those two years, we were without a TV for almost a year. An Airman I worked with was buying a new TV and offered to sell me his old one on the cheap. It was a black & white with a 12â€ screen and stood off the floor on thin legs that were about 2 feet long. A small 45 RPM record player came with it and plugged into the back of the TV so you could listen to music thru the speakers. I can clearly remember the first day I came home from work and after eating supper, sitting down with my wife to watch TV. It was like having a movie theater in our home! Every evening we were being entertained, and that felt so good! But, eventually, we became accustomed to being entertained and the smile gradually left our faces. And here I am 60 years later, watching TV without even a hint of a smile. The one thing I know for certain is that TV will dumb-you-down faster than anything else in your life. It requires nothing from you, and in return, never gives you anything substantial in return. So, that begs the question, why donâ€™t I go on a â€œNo TVâ€ sabbatical. I think it is because TV has become ingrained as part of my being, becoming like an extra organ, and we all know you canâ€™t live absent an organ. Maybe I should concentrate on trimming back the amount of time I watch the blasted thing, or better still, apply the routine I use in smoking cigars: watch TV every other day for a few hours. Clearly, as confused as I am, I need to give this some more thought ðŸ˜Š.
âš½ The young people amongst us are less likely to suffer in silence, but almost all of us are social creatures. A lot of us hate to be alone, believing that if we are, weâ€™re anti-social. Solitude is not always good for us, but it can be, and should be, judiciously pursued. Choosing to do things alone can have mental and emotional benefits. Being alone with our thoughts and giving our mind free rein to wander can be exhilarating. It can be simple things, for example, I have an umbrella that I use when I go down the driveway to get the mail when itâ€™s raining. One of its rods had a broken string that kept the fabric tight, and it has been that way for several years. I have often given thought to throwing it away and buying a new one, but I hated to do that just because of one broken string. So, the other day, I sat down with that â€œbrokenâ€ umbrella and started thinking of how I could repair it. Sure â€˜nuff, during that time of solitude, the answer came to me and now I have a perfectly fine umbrella. Kinda leads me to believe I should do that more oftenðŸ˜Š. If you want to know my umbrella solution, let me know. It was fairly simple.
âš½ Amish men take about 18,425 steps per day. Amish women take about 14,196. The average American adult takes about 4,000 steps per day. Only 4% of Amish are obese, compared to 31% of the general population.
We have made several trips to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania and, I must admit, we have seen very few overweight Amish people. It is amazing to witness how simple their life seems to be. It reminds me so much of my life as a young boy at 5 years old. We didnâ€™t have electricity, running water, or even a bathroom. I carried drinking water in a bucket from a well about a quarter mile from our house. I lived with my Grandpa and Grandma McCoy, and neither of them had a paying job. Grandma did housework for families located up and down the valley, and Grandpa mostly piddled around the house. Iâ€™ll betcha if I had a Fitbit back then I wouldâ€™ve averaged 20,000 steps a day. On one of our trips to Amish Country, we took a ride in a horse-drawn wagon with an old Amish guy as the guide. We took a tour thru a typical Amish home and in so many ways, with the simplicity I observed inside the home, it reminded me of my childhood. They seem to take pride in the simplicity of their lives but, to me, itâ€™s like having a wealthy family located in a poor neighborhood and the poor people not wanting to be like them. I could see the look of drudgery on the faces of the women & children whose entire day was filled with chores. The only ones that appeared to be content with their lot was the men and boys. I couldnâ€™t quite put it all together, but I suspect that the boys were always up to some sort of mischief and the men probably had a hobby of sorts. I observed that the men interacted with the public more so than the women.
I want to think that itâ€™s admirable for a group of people to elect to live such a simple life, however, I find it hard to accept because they expect their children to live the same way and if they choose a more modern path, they are banned for life. I have a hard time understanding how you abandon a child you love under any circumstances. Why not allow them to live their life and come home to visit when they want? Thatâ€™s always been the proper way to raise children. Iâ€™ll have to give it some more thought. Maybe one day Iâ€™ll figure out their logic.
“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” â€” Helen Keller
I am always grateful that you take the time to read my missives. Until next time, be wellâ€¦.Tommy.