VTR operator, Production Assistant, Floor Manager, On-Air Graphics Operator, Director, Producer. All roles I have played in this drama called "life." Oh, and I do not own a TV.
At the time, all I knew was that both my parents were teachers, and both my sisters planned to follow suit. Therefore, being the rebellious shit disturber that I was, I had to pursue the furthest thing from that.
I enjoyed drama class, and excelled at my communications and electronics course. And heck, I like to watch TV, so why not learn how to make it? So the following September I enrolled in a community college Television Broadcasting course, and wouldn't you know it, received my diploma 2 years later, along with a couple of top academic achievement awards. From there, I managed to land a gig straight out of my internship working with a major TV news network in Toronto.
Now, my career in the media certainly came with plenty of bragging rights, and I worked my way up to the powerful position of show director by my mid-twenties. The constant pressure of to-the-second deadlines, ever-changing protocols from my supervisors and diva-like anchors led to heightened anxiety 24/7. I would stress about my shows from the minute I woke up in the morning, right up until the "on-air" countdown clock hit zero. And that final hour pre-show was the worst; nothing else in the entire world mattered. I had to do everything I could do to ensure a "clean" show, lest I hear all about it from my producer and bosses watching from their sofas at home. It consumed me.
But like clockwork, each time the show opening rolled by, and the hosts said their hellos, everything would change. Once we got into the first pack of the live broadcast, I would find myself relaxing. I would settle. I would be in the moment. I would laugh. I would have fun.
Looking back, I realize that I spent so much time catastrophizing that I never really let myself enjoy the positive aspects of the job. I projected a lot of fear into my daily tasks, recalling things that had gone wrong in the past, worrying about what I was bound to drop the ball on this time 'round. And it wasn't until I got "in the moment" when the show began and I was calling all the shots, that I was able to let go.
But I was unhappy, living a life that looked grand from the outside, but was empty on the inside. During this phase, it was routine for me to head home from work each night, and fix myself a martini (or 4). I would then sit down to a PVR chock full of hours and hours of silly sitcoms, to which I would numb my feelings of inadequacy with more and more drink.
Now, I do have a subscription to Netflix (that I watch on my 7" netbook), and I admit to falling victim to the online awesomeness that is House of Cards. But the funny thing is, these days I find myself with less and less patience for any programming that runs beyond 40 minutes. Some may say that is a symptom of too much technology; that it is actually an issue with attention deficiency thanks to too much connectivity. But I argue that it is simply because I have actively spent so much time trying to detach from television and all that it has stood for in my life: false reality, irrational fear and unnecessary distraction.
Being mindful is about knowing where you are when you are there. It is about recognizing the small things, while not fretting about the past, or tripping over the future. And my decision to leave my career in TV, and to not own one, have made it much easier for me to really see, smell, taste and feel all that this life has to offer.
I urge you to turn off your set this week, if only for one eve. And witness the best story line there is; yours.
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You deserve a breakfast that doesn't come shrink-wrapped every now and again, and cooking it yourself will make it all the more scrumptious. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/egg-recipes-breakfast-brunch_n_987844.html">Get some <em>egg</em>cellent inspiration, here.</a>)
...when it <em>isn't</em> her birthday. Make a list of all the reasons she earns the title of BFF: She'll feel appreciated and grateful to have <em>you</em> in her life, and writing it will remind you how lucky you are to have her, too.
Lace up your sneaks, leash up your love and GO. No matter how you decide to move, choose to leave your cell at home -- grant yourself this time to be present with <em>your own</em> thoughts, and not the thoughts of the Twittersphere.
You'll wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any problem that seemed impossible pre-snooze. (Want to take a nap at work? We're all for it! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/how-to-nap-at-work_n_1232352.html">Find some tips, here.</a>)
Google Maps has saved your life again and again, but it's dulled the wonders of wandering. Why not take a break from knowing where you're going and instead explore the undiscovered?
For a lot of us, our A.M. cup of coffee blends into the frantic "routine" of getting to work on time. Consider setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier to enjoy every aspect of your delicious morning ritual. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ora-nadrich/meditation-practice_b_2114526.html">Some tips to turn your morning cup of coffee into a meditation -- it works for tea, too!</a>)
Maybe you don't have time to unplug today. Fine. What about five minutes to sit? Good. Get yourself in this postion -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/stress-tips-yoga-poses_n_2736129.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul">Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall</a> -- for just five minutes and feel the stress of the day evaporate.
Remember when Art was your favorite subject in school? Relive that release of creativity. (Sampling the Elmer's Glue is not encouraged.)
Try crafting a meal from your roots, whether it's from a page of your Grandma's passed-down recipe book or the extravagant birthday dinner your dad used to cook you as a kid. One rule: No looking up the steps online!
Preferably one with pages that you turn, not tap.
Dust off those boxes of fourth grade genius: No one could compete with your report on Ulysses S. Grant (or so said your No. 1 fan: Mom). Revel in that fantastic feeling of nostalgia -- you are sure to find some gems!
It won't be long until waterproof phones become the norm. For now, light a candle and take a nice, long tech-free soak -- you'll emerge <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/bath-bomb-recipe_n_2431955.html">relaxed</a> and peaceful.
Talk about appreciating the present moment: Those ducks won't ignore you for their Instagram feed. You'll get their full attention in exchange for a little bread.
Pick a space in your home and get organized. Doing a bit of a home-cleanse will help you feel <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophie-keller/declutter-home-cleanse_b_1166467.html">less chaotic on the inside</a>.
Whip out a pen and start scribbling -- you might be surprised to see all that's on your mind, without the interruptions and distractions from your external gadgets.
Pick a crowded part of town and observe: People are always up to curious things that you won't notice unless your head's up!
Gather your gang for a night of culinary joy -- everyone should bring a dish, but leave their cells behind.
Spend some time doing something good for someone else -- you'll reap the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-cole/volunteering-health_b_2189477.html">many benefits of altruism</a>, and maybe even dig up a new hobby.
Just because they recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/monopoly-cat-piece_n_2629561.html">swapped the iconic iron piece for a cat </a>doesn't mean your favorite classics aren't worth a revisit.
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