If the television is on in our house, you can almost bet its never for anything I voted to watch. There are plenty of reasons I say this, but it’s true.
Since we cancelled cable, we rely on Netflix and Amazon Prime and have really gotten some good use out of our Apple TV and Fire Stick. Normally if the TV is on, it’s Moana or Pee Wee Herman as of late; soon it will be football (foreshadowing to a great post, I’m sure <insert eye roll emoji> ), and lots of times it’s golf or Wheel of Fortune (always gets my vote). And I can’t fail to mention that we are big Big Brother fans, so Reid and I do make an effort to watch that together when we can. Thanks to our nifty wireless antenna, we can pick up a couple dozen local channels and haven’t missed cable a bit.
I could say what most would say – “I don’t have time to watch TV…” but the reality is I choose not to watch TV. I’ve enjoyed getting lost in books and writing posts like this, planning out the finishing touches on projects I’ve been meaning to finish for weeks/months/years, spending time outside or working on my business.
The way I see it, we have little chunks of space in our day, and we get the privilege of choosing what we do inside those spaces. The choices we make will create our life, over time. We control our time, our time shouldn’t control us, and watching TV always seems to take the reins of control when I give in to it. Much like scrolling through social media, I’ve learned to appreciate and actually crave the disconnect from screen time. It’s too easy to get sucked into a vortex of comparison and judgement when we compare our lives to someone’s best when we are potentially at our worst. But, I digress…
It came as somewhat of a surprise last Monday night when Reid suggested that we start a new show on Netflix together. He delivered a beautifully pitched invitation for us to “spend some time together after the kids go to bed”, which I saw appealing and agreed to, truthfully without even knowing what show I had just committed myself to watch.
Ozarks. Jason Bateman. Fair enough, I thought. And about 10 minutes in, I was hooked to the story line, or I suppose I should say, what I assumed the story line would develop to be.
We snuggled up on our over-sized couch with a warm blanket and watched quietly as the first episode of this Netflix original series played in front of us. I was into it.
And then, when the episode ended and I got up to use the bathroom, I noticed Sadler sleeping on the steps. Again (roll eyes, again). So, I carried her back to her bed and proceeded with somewhat of a bedtime routine to get her back to sleep.
Meanwhile, downstairs…guess who starts to watch episode number 2? Without me????!
I walked into the bedroom, and when I noticed what was happening, I saw red. I was so mad. Here I had been, duped into a TV show I didn’t really even want to watch in the first place, and was sold on the fact that “we can do it together”. And he is watching it without me.
I shared my frustration aloud with him, which seemed stupid to him. And then I realized how stupid it really was…I’m crying, over Netflix???
I woke up the next morning to think about what had happened, and it hit me. A blog post I had recently read said something like this:
Our Expectations, minus our Observations, equal FRUSTRATION.
Having expectations is a tricky one. We can and should have expectations in life, right? I have expectations of myself. Typically, too harsh ones. When I managed a team of people, I had expectations of them, too. And when they actually did or didn’t do a task that seemed to correlate with my expectation, that’s what I was left to observe. And then I was frustrated.
I have expectations of my children, and how they should behave and what they should eat and how often they should try to pee throughout the day.
Clearly, I expected the Netflix thing to turn out differently. Never did I think I’d come back downstairs and see him watching without me. But, it was even more clear that I was so bent out of shape about it.
Will it matter in ten years?…doubtful. But the fact that I expected the situation to turn out a certain way, and then it just didn’t go down that way, I was left feeling…frustrated. Which led to sadness, which led to saying things I regretted the next morning.
This incident compelled me to decide that it was time for Reid and I to declare a few expectations, ones that we could hold each other accountable for. We decided to declare the pillars of our family, and what would be important foundations to raise our girls upon. You may be thinking: shouldn’t you have done that BEFORE you had kids? Maybe. And maybe we thought about it. But this time, we’re doing it.
Letting go of my expectations in order to make room for a clear plan is exciting to me. A plan that will hopefully craft a life of purpose, with healthy sprinklings of Netflix time here and there…except, next time there will only be tears shed if we are watching Beaches.