A time to reflect on who I am — or, watch TV


So, I’ve been spending a lot of time with myself over the last month with this broken foot tying me to my couch. A friend told me that I should use this time to really get to know myself, and see it as a blessing of an opportunity for self-realization and awareness — a way to take stock of my life, assess my goals and determine what I need to do in order to become the person I want to be in life.

My friend is an idiot, by the way.

However, you truly do learn a lot about yourself when there is nothing you can do but sit on a couch for an entire weekend, armed with nothing more than a remote control and a pile of bottled water. There is only so much television one can bear without going insane, and sleep really isn’t an easy option when your foot sometimes pulses like it is dancing the Macarena.

For instance, I learned that there is actually a line as to how much television I can stand watching. I’ve always loved those lazy rainy Sundays when I just plop on the couch and watch shows backed up on my DVR or play around on Netflix. What I’ve learned is that my limit on that appears to have been one day. After that, it becomes borderline torture.

I found myself fidgeting with magazines and my iPad while the television was running, and then finding new ways to torment my dogs by hiding their favorite toys behind my back and watching them try to find them. That was indeed pretty entertaining for a few minutes, as they scurried about trying to get to their toys, but quickly grew quite sad as I realized that I was a man in my 40s enjoying myself by messing with my dogs’ mental health.

The word “pathetic” came to mind fairly quickly.

I started playing around with online poker for a few moments until I remembered that you can indeed shoot a young black man in this country without getting into any trouble, but you can’t legally play poker for your own money online with other consenting adults. I mean, come on, what in the world is going on when ...

But I digress.

Now that I got half of you mad, let’s move back to what a boring existence I have been enjoying lately.

Tired of the television and canine brain-tinkering that was entertaining me for a short time, I moved on to reading, one of my favorite pasttimes. Here’s the problem I encountered, however — I discovered that I am a creature of habit, and I have always been a nighttime reader. Reading during the day like that just caused me to become distracted by the sound of children outside, and also made my eyes very heavy. I fell asleep quickly, and realized that between the television, the dogs, my book and the nap, I had killed off about four hours.

I popped on my xBox, hoping Shaun Lambert or one of my other friends would be online so we could blow up some stuff together, but there was nobody around. It appeared that all my mobile friends had other stuff to do on a beautiful summer day. I mean, Shaun is an Eskimo who grew up north of the Arctic Circle and starts sweating when the temperature hits about 18 degrees, and he is out doing fun stuff while I’m reduced to naps and playing cards online for imaginary money? Where’s the justice in that, people?

So, what have I learned about myself while I’ve been laid up with this broken foot? Well, I learned that as often as I fantasize about retirement and living the good life, I am nowhere near ready for that chapter of my life. I need to be kept busy on specific tasks or I fall apart quickly.

I also learned that while I do love watching television, there is a limit before I start trying to find other things to do while the screen just buzzes in the background, and that I’m not particularly good at finding other things to do, apparently.

One last lesson for me in all of this has been that breaking your foot right at the beginning of summer is not so much fun. Of course, I imagine that breaking it in the winter has its downside, as well, but I don’t really go outside in the winter, so there’s that.

Oh well. Now, where are those dogs?