It’s safe to say, and having said it to say it no more, that 2011 was an eventful year, documented in many ways and in many places.
But aside from that…
This was the year we cut the cable and never looked back. I first installed cable TV in a room I was living in off campus in college, over 30 years ago, and aside from a few months in our first apartment in Seattle we’ve always had it. What’s not to like?
People get rid of cable for different reasons, although usually it’s either a budget thing or a personal philosophy thing. For us, we were just bored with it. John won’t watch anything and the two elders are always busy with that Internet business. It was an easy call, if a little uneasy at first; what happens if something happens?
Naw. Nothing happened, nothing that wasn’t streamed. This was Streaming Year, anyway, and while sometimes I missed sports (the one remaining selling point for cable, in my opinion, and the hardest to work around online), and occasionally I did the old-fashioned wrestling with analog (i.e., hooking up an antenna), we were content to choose…content. So it saved us…600 bucks in 2011? More? That wasn’t really the point, other than feeling stupid paying for something we almost never used.
I still watched, though. I became a full-fledged “Breaking Bad” junkie and bought every episode on Amazon, watching via my Roku on the big screen. I stayed current with a few sitcoms (Thursday night on NBC) and pedaled away in the mornings while watching Jon Stewart. Otherwise, it’s Old Media as far as I’m concerned, at least in terms of delivery system. No regrets.
I lost a chunk of income in 2011 and gained a decent sleeping schedule, so for a few months I wrote mind-numbing, soul-sucking articles on software and casino management, trying to keep some money coming in while lots of it was going out to hospitals. I had plenty of time to produce the great American novel, but mostly I watched Netflix and ate ice cream. I gained about 25 pounds, which I lost during the summer, plus another 15, then gained that 15 back over the fall and now…status quo. Which could be worse. And income is much better, although the medical bills are truly hilarious.
John turned 21 this year and graduated from high school, an orchestrated delay that allowed him to continue services through the school district. It was an accomplishment nonetheless, a surprise in many ways. He’s still in life limbo and challenges will never go away, but he’s grown tremendously and is often just a joy to have around. I’m all for kids growing up and leaving the nest (and leaving the nest less messy), but there’s something to be said for having them around, too.
It was at John’s graduation, actually, that two cameras failed on me and forced me – I mean, I was forced, right? – to finally succumb to the pull of an iPhone. All my tech needs in my pocket, unnecessary but useful, and I used it. In fact, that summer weight loss I attribute to my phone, since a couple of handy apps made it oh-so-easy to chart my progress, mark my miles, count my calories.
And if that seems indulgent, consider this: 2011 was the year I stopped driving. Not really, but the brakes went bad on our old 1993 van, our secondary transportation, and what seemed unthinkable became easy. I can walk to most things, I can bus to others, and I can work around JK’s schedule when I need a car. Consider it a trade-off, then. A phone for a car.
The rest you know, if you read and/or care. I avoided air travel, with regrets; there are trips I need to make in 2012, Austin and Arizona. I published a new book. I waited in waiting rooms, I walked on walking trails, I upped my exercise and I ate, I think, no vegetables at all. So I have goals.
I do, too, but I won’t bore you with those, or at least I’ll save them for another post. It’s good to be alive, to have my wife alive, to have my children grown and doing well. We lost our Strider but we gained a year of experience, and at least for yours truly learned to live with less. Which some people say is more, and who am I to argue?
Here’s to more vegetables.