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Old 03-18-2008, 08:38 AM   #41
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TV ... encourages me to replace reality by stories chosen and drafted by other people at their agenda (this even is true with the news)
No! Really? I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:16 AM   #42
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Midpack, were both you and your wife able to come up with 50 activities you enjoy? I enjoy a number of activities (walking, reading, playing online, thinking, watching foreign and independent films, listening to jazz and classical, cooking, socializing, communing with nature and animals, shopping for food) but would never be able to come up with 50! Even if I aded stuff I used to enjoy (and even go back to childhood), I probably wouldn't hit 50! If I had to, I guess I could pad it with stuff I thought about, like yoga and tai chi....

With people who watch a lot of TV---I wonder whether it's the chicken or egg thing. Do they watch so much TV because they can't think of or have no interest in anything else---or is it that they can't think of anything else to do because their mind and energy are so zapped by the endless hours of TV?

I always marvel at neighbors who always seem to have their TV on all night long, every night. I can't imagine what they find of interest! Then again, I only get basic cable so I'm limited in terms of possibilities. And it's not that my TV is never on, but usually it's to watch a film on DVD.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #43
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For the life of me I can't come up with 50 things that I would like to do without totally grasping at straws. I am not the type of person who can be bothered doing something just because they can.

I am not musical nor am I into the arts in any way. I can zip through any art gallery in 30 minutes, to me I either like the picture or I don't and I don't need to analyse the damn thing for 30 minutes worrying about what the artist was thinking to know if I do like it. I am not a collector of anything, a collection is just a pile of junk waiting for someone to throw it out I don't own as much as one ornament or as we refer to them in our household - dust collectors. I am not interested in taking pottery classes or learning to knit or sew because if I do who am I going to inflict the results upon? Same with cooking, there are only the 2 of us, so there is no need to take any cooking classes as I am more than capable of figuring out something from a cook book. The latest craze seems to be scrapbooking, but as we don't have children I don't take any photos as it is just one more thing to be thrown out when we go onto the next world.

Volunteer work, when you actually work full time there is a limit to how much time and energy you have to do this in the hours available. Obviously once retired this would improve.

All the things that I do enjoy are not possible in my current life. I love home renovation projects and gardening. We rent an apt. so I am sure the landlord does not want us improving what he has done.

Also to me the best form of exercise is those that occur when you are undertaking an activity rather than doing something because it will help you lose weight. I hate running, bores me stupid and I can't take my eyes of the electronic dooflicky that tells me how many minutes I have been suffering for and how many calories I have consumed. I much prefer being out doing something like kayaking or breathing the fresh air hiking up a mountain. Our current location does not really play into these desires.

So in the meantime I current repose on a regular basis on my couch watching crap that (a) I know is make believe and (b) keeps me occupied and lets my mind relax.

I know that sometime in the near future all this will change and I can not wait for that day.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:48 AM   #44
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When my brother first retired, and I was (of course) wishing that I was in his shoes, we created and exchanged lists of things we wanted to do in retirement. Mine was over 25 activities long, and that was just in a return e-mail. I'm sure there are many more! I saved the e-mail on my desktop at home, just in case I get bored after ER. I doubt that I will, though.

Each of us included writing a book (not to be published, but just to do it for ourselves). He wanted to write fiction, though, and I wanted to write non-fiction of some sort. We agreed to exchange books once we write them.

And now, Dangermouse has mentioned pottery classes... I hadn't thought of that! That could be a lot of fun, and I could probably give any extras to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I could display a few of the really good ones (assuming there are any), or use them as vases and such.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:43 AM   #45
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After over four years on ER boards I've seen this thread one too many times.

Who the @#$% do we think we are? Entertainment directors on a cruise ship? Personal trainers? Guidance counselors!? Prison wardens?!? (My respects & apologies to anyone who feels they're making an honorable living at those avocations.) Who really has the problem here?

I read almost as obsessively much as Martha (I know exactly what you mean about the anxiety), and I'm the TV enabler for my spouse. I tape nearly 140 hours of programming per week and she either watches or fast-forwards through every minute of it. But I'm reading books or on the computer even more than she's on the TV.

It's certainly not adversely affecting her health. By all available evidence her TV-watching is actually improving it. My spouse's blood pressure is in the double digits, her pulse rate is lower than mine, her cholesterol level is lower, and her stress level is definitely lower than mine-- even though I've been ER'd for six years and she's still a drilling Reservist. She has way better genes than I do and she's probably going to end up living a decade or two longer. She's not in shape to surf for two hours or to compete in a martial-arts tournament, but she enjoys what she does and she sees no reason to change. So who am I to judge? She's paid her dues, she supports the finances at least as much as I do, and she's earned the right to live her life according to her standards.

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She doesn't think she needs to cut down, but she's clearly (by her own admission) bored.
I'm not judging anyone, just asking for other methods to intervene.
I'm not sure that there's anything to intervene in. If she's bored then it's her problem to tackle. If she's bored enough then she'll tackle it, and it sounds like she's already aware of the tools for doing so. If she wants your help then she knows where to find you. After decades together we surely have enough respect for each other to not intrude on one another's personal space/limits.

Perhaps before we "solve" each other's problems we should try "giving up" our favorite activity (as unproductive) for six months and see how we feel about it. I'm not sure why we would be so eager to impose the same regimen on our spouses. I guess it's always easier to "improve" them than ourselves.

It amazes me that we work so hard to regain control of our lives, we ER to do whatever we want, and then we expect our significant others to provide our entertainment. If my partner is hauling her share of the load (chores, maintenance, parenting, whatever) then I have no basis for complaint. If she feels less need for companionship (platonic or sexual or however it's achieved) and I want more, then that's my problem-- not hers.

My spouse is one of the highest priorities in my life and I'll always accomodate her, but if she's occupied with her own personal priorities then I'm certainly able to find ways to occupy myself without feeling obligated to interfere with her bliss.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:03 PM   #46
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It amazes me that we work so hard to regain control of our lives, we ER to do whatever we want, and then we expect our significant others to provide our entertainment.
I agree with everything Nords has written above, as well as what some others have written, Dex, Ha, Martha, etc. I, too, am an obsessive reader, Internet user, and could probably stand to widen my activities. But we all have different temperments. Some people like to be very active and social, others need more time alone.

But I think a deeper issue is at work here. For many people (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone) they are uncomfortable with just being with themselves and need to have outside stimulus, activity, people around all the time, or they begin to feel anxious, unhappy, "bored."

What would happen if the two of you took a walk together, a quiet time spent together just conversing? What happens during that time will tell you a lot about your relationship. But I think what is more important is what happens when you are with yourself, doing "nothing," just breathing and getting in touch with your own spirit.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:35 PM   #47
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For the life of me I can't come up with 50 things that I would like to do without totally grasping at straws.
Hmm, never thought of that..

For at least 50 other things consult the Kama Sutra.

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Old 03-18-2008, 02:12 PM   #48
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Thanks Nords for putting it so eloquently. Our 3 biggest pasttimes are tv, reading and the internet and squeezing in a bit of exercise. I find even amongst my work colleagues that there seems to be some competition over who has got the most activity going on in their life - you know we have 7 different birthday parties on Saturday, dinner with friends, going to the theatre etc. and I wonder if they ever get to relax and just enjoy their life. I take a lot of pleasure when people ask when what we have planned to say nothing. If one is happy with their life the way it is why are they obliged to try new things?

Ha, not so sure about the Karma Sutra, surely if one tried to do 50 things from that book in a short period of time your bits would soon be very sore and out of action.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:18 PM   #49
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I used to watch a lot of TV - pre-internet days. Now I think I have a serious internet addiction. Looking at FIRE next year. Will have to limit amount of time doing both (TV/Internet) - can be mindless at times. Have a stack full of US historical to read next year - but I'm fooling myself if I think I'm going to finish even one of them.
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:54 PM   #50
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After over four years on ER boards I've seen this thread one too many times.

Who the @#$% do we think we are? Entertainment directors on a cruise ship? Personal trainers? Guidance counselors!? Prison wardens?!? (My respects & apologies to anyone who feels they're making an honorable living at those avocations.) Who really has the problem here?
Midpack asked for some advice. People responded to his request. I don't think that anyone should feel guilty for answering his original post ... it's not like gratuitous suggestions were just thrown out there by busybodies.

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I'm the TV enabler for my spouse. I tape nearly 140 hours of programming per week and she either watches or fast-forwards through every minute of it.... So who am I to judge? She's paid her dues, she supports the finances at least as much as I do, and she's earned the right to live her life according to her standards. It amazes me that we work so hard to regain control of our lives, we ER to do whatever we want, and then we expect our significant others to provide our entertainment.
Wow. This thread really seems to have hit a nerve with you! Perhaps Midpack's situation is too close for comfort.

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If my partner is hauling her share of the load (chores, maintenance, parenting, whatever) then I have no basis for complaint. If she feels less need for companionship (platonic or sexual or however it's achieved) and I want more, then that's my problem-- not hers.
Have to disagree with you there. IMHO, you would be describing a 'home business' partnership, not a genuine marriage. An absence or shortage of love, sex, companionship or communication is a problem for both spouses, and should be addressed before resentment takes hold.

P.S. I hope you're exaggerating about the "nearly 140 hours of programming per week". If your wife watched only half of that, that would mean she spends an average of 10 hours a day in front of the television.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:12 PM   #51
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Midpack, were both you and your wife able to come up with 50 activities you enjoy?
40, and still working on it. Nothing magic about 50 though, sorting through 40 should keep me busy for a while.

Nords, with all due respect (sincerely), lighten up. It was meant as a simple question for others who might have found themselves in the same situation.
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:52 PM   #52
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Nords, with all due respect (sincerely), lighten up. It was meant as a simple question for others who might have found themselves in the same situation.
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Midpack asked for some advice. People responded to his request. I don't think that anyone should feel guilty for answering his original post ... it's not like gratuitous suggestions were just thrown out there by busybodies.
Individually, no one's an egregious offender-- but we're all straws on the camel's back. It amazes me that everyone hopped on the engineering solutions to the problem statement without even considering whether it was the actual problem. Or without questioning whether there was a problem at all.

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Wow. This thread really seems to have hit a nerve with you! Perhaps Midpack's situation is too close for comfort.
What's wirebrushing my nerves is the implicit assumption that so many people see their spouses as a work in progress for their tinkering. Imagine if those same spouses were reading this thread right now...

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P.S. I hope you're exaggerating about the "nearly 140 hours of programming per week". If your wife watched only half of that, that would mean she spends an average of 10 hours a day in front of the television.
For starters, it's probably less time per day in front of the TV for her than it is for me in front of a monitor or with my nose in a book/magazine. I spend some of that time alongside her in the recliner reading while she's watching. But somehow the perception could be that I'm OK and she has the "problem". Maybe my virtue is all the calories I burn from clicking the mouse.

And no, I'm not exaggerating. According to my programming list it's actually 138.5 hours/week, including eight hours a night of both PBS and HGTV plus the daily dose of Oprah. Throw in some favorites from TLC, the usual network primetime stuff, and Gene Simmons-- it adds up pretty quickly among five VCRs and a DVD recorder. We burn out at least one VHS rewinder a year and it's getting kinda tough to find VHS VCRs, but VHS tapes are in plentiful supply these days.

I don't know if it's 10 hours/day-- I haven't kept track of that-- but it's certainly more than six.

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Have to disagree with you there. IMHO, you would be describing a 'home business' partnership, not a genuine marriage. An absence or shortage of love, sex, companionship or communication is a problem for both spouses, and should be addressed before resentment takes hold.
Eh, I did marry a naval officer and we are raising a kid. But differences over money and sex, in about that order, are the most frequently discussed marital issues and certainly ahead of careers & parenting.

The above may be more details than anyone really wanted to know, but my point is that we're all up in a spouse's grille about solving a problem that may not exist in the first place-- or could even be the other spouse's problem. Someone is living their life in a manner that they deem acceptable enough to continue, whether or not they think it's optimal, and yet another person thinks it can't be allowed to persist. To me that sounds a lot more serious than debates about money, sex, or dishwasher packing.

Gosh, sure hope we don't hit anyone else's nerves, but we'll have to get back to that after we discuss this subject another 10 or 20 times.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:21 PM   #53
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Individually, no one's an egregious offender--
We try our best to do what is right.

Ha
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:49 PM   #54
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Gosh, sure hope we don't hit anyone else's nerves, but we'll have to get back to that after we discuss this subject another 10 or 20 times.
Sorry, I joined this forum in Jan 08. I didn't realize I was supposed to catch up on the last 4 years of posts before asking a question. However, I have been a member of other non-ER forums for several years, and when I see a topic that I've seen enough of, I a) just skip over it or b) wade in knowing that it's probably newbies who are entitled to ask just like I may have when I began. I assume they've posted because they'd like to hear what seasoned members have learned. I can't imagine scolding them because I'm tired of their topic...
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:38 PM   #55
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I wouldnt sweat it too much, Midpack. You popped into a long term marriage of a few thousand people to express issue with your own. Theres probably a whole lot of learning here and the solutions are likely quite simple. Either acceptance and accommodation or communication and resolution?
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:01 AM   #56
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Yes, don't worry about it Midpack. This thread seems to have bothered only one person: who, as you correctly point out, is free to skip the entire discussion if it is too boring or irritating for him.

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The above may be more details than anyone really wanted to know
Roger that.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:48 PM   #57
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I'd say that TV is really, really bad for you if you watch the commercials.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:57 PM   #58
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I'd say that TV is really, really bad for you if you watch the commercials.
I watch commercials once per year, the Superbowl.
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:07 PM   #59
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Gosh, I was just thinking the other day that I'm probably addicted to TV/internet and how i should read more - now i don't think i have to read more! he he

Midpack - does the TV watching mean chores etc are not getting done - that would be more of an issue for me - my SO's always working out and playing ball and it gets in the way of his chores because then he's always recuperating (ie sleeping) and not doing his chores!
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