Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/29/2005: "Indulge me for one final thought"

My favorite quote from Thomas Paine ďThat which we obtain too easily, we esteem to lightlyĒ seems so true lately. When I lived in Hawaii I didnít have TV but a friend would invite me over to watch Party of Five and Iíd ride my bike 6 miles to get to their house-I always *really* looked forward to it.

Then I got a TV when I moved to Juneau but it only received 2 channels (poorly)Ö but there were a few shows that came in and Iíd wait for them to come on and it was still kind of an event (lame event but still). Next came the house and cable TV, then TIVO, and this weekend I signed up for HBO and Showtime as TIVO tapes waaaaay more shows than I could ever watch. The odd thing is, the more I have the less I feel like watching. It doesnít seem special anymore. Thereís always going to be something on soÖno big deal, watch it or donít but something I really used to look forward to just seems boring now.

Music is another example. I used to buy a new CD when I could and listen to it over and over again. This weekend I downloaded close to 2,000 songs to my MP3 player. Itís just too much. We are programmed in the US to want more, earn more, buy more, move into a bigger house, buy a bigger car, but itís crap. There is only so much that we need. If we can find that point where we make enough to live simply and comfortably and give the rest away, I think thatís how to achieve long-term happiness. That is going to be my new goal, that and get off my ass and start painting again!

Replies: 9 Comments

on Tuesday, August 30th, Kasia said

I think it's not only the American syndrome! It's so common! 20 years ago when there was still communism in Poland we didn't have much - now we have everything and we are not happy! And more - people often say they used to be happy 20 years ago! That's very symptomatic, I think.
That's why i do not have a tv - set in my apartment. It very very quiet.... Internet is the window on teh world for me right now. Besides, tv doessn't offer much - more than 60 channels and none is ineresting. thay are all the same! the same films, the same videos, the same news. Too much noise!!!

on Tuesday, August 30th, John Kaay said

Love your blog, Elise, I've been reading it for months instead of working.
I've noticed that about tivo. I tivo baseball games, but then don't ever watch them although I'd love to watch them live. If they're tivo'd, they're already over, and what's the point?

on Tuesday, August 30th, greg said

Elise, I'd hafta say I fear you are becoming Canadianized! By living up there you are losing your American dream vision, and succumbing to boring socialism! :cry:

Now repeat the mantra:
I CAN have the perfect lawn!

And never forget that living in Alaska means you deserve to own the biggest Hummer you want!

You didn't say how big your TV was, but I'd guess getting a new 72 inch HD plasma screen, will cure you!
... add Sundance and an new vibrating leather recliner while yer at it! ;)

Now I need to get out and spead some more sod manure, but I'll be back, and better American for it! :cool:

on Tuesday, August 30th, Elise said

Hi John, anything to get out of work eh?

I admit I do love being able to skip the commercials though.

And Greg, actually, my TV is small, about the same size as my computer monitor but I'll admit there was a time not long ago I was contemplating getting a big screen HD plasma (or equivalent). I'm vowing right now today that I will never buy that big of a TV!

And I agree Kasia, that having more doesn't necessarily make you happier. I've just decided that what I have right now is enough. I still have major debt to pay off (another part of the American Dream) but this is an ongoing thing for me...something I have to keep working at.

I just know that I'll get a 10% raise when I get tenure and since I've been doing ok on what I make now, I plan to give that extra away.

on Wednesday, August 31st, Sherri said

"simplify! simplify! simplify!!" Henry David Thoreau sure had it correct...

I agree with you..."We are programmed in the US to want more, earn more, buy more, move into a bigger house, buy a bigger car, but itís crap" ;)

on Wednesday, August 31st, Elise said

Hi Sherri! You've commented here before haven't you? I went and looked at your site and you have a couple of finish pieces posted and I remember that very unique style and how much I liked it. So, either I found your site from here or from someone else's site...but I really think your work is great.

Oh yes, and what I wrote in a comment on the "What do Critics Know" post... one of my favorite quotes by Gandhi (I think) "live simply so that others may simply live"...I think that's a great thing to strive for. I was so happy to read on your site that you are trying to do the same thing. And if a few people convince a few people who convince a few more...this world might still have a chance.

on Wednesday, August 31st, Elise said

BTW John, I read your post about the sawplayers festival Do you actually play? Me too!!! They're great aren't they?

on Friday, September 2nd, Kathleen Marie said

I think you are definitely on the right track. Less is more. When things are simple, I am happiest too. :)

on Friday, September 2nd, Elise said

I know Kathleen Marie, I think that's probably true for most people. It's just so easy to forget. I have to stop and remind myself constantly when I'm at the shop: PUT THAT STUPID CRAP DOWN!