Is It Time to Reexamine the Living Room?

All my family and friends have the same template for their living room. There is seating, a coffee table maybe a rug, and always a television. As the years have gone by this screen seems to be taking up more and more real estate, even as it has lost some weight. Have you ever thought about this? Why every living room looks identical? Why we allow this black mirror to dominate the focal point of the room where we spend the majority of our leisure time? Perhaps it is time we rethink the way we live our lives and the living room seems like a good place to start.

Does the television dominate our lives so much that it demands to be the center of attention in our living room? Now, I have spent plenty of time in front of the television, most recently watching Chloe Kim and Shaun White dominate in the Olympics. But as the years go by, the TV just seems like a distraction from a happier life. Cable TV is unbearable with the commercials and the laugh tracks. And I could do an entire post solely on the 24 hour news cycle and I likely will one day. So that leaves us with the streaming services which is an improvement on the TV formula, but it is not an improvement on our lives.

Tyler Durden once said our great war is a spiritual one. I see a lot of young people out there turning away from religion, but I still see a longing for a spiritual side. Perhaps this explains the growing interest in yoga and meditation. In 2012, there were around 20 million yoga practitioners, or yogis, in America. As of 2016, that number has grown to over 36 million. Now I grew up as an athlete but yoga always seemed like hippie nonsense to me. Now as I grow older, I find myself trying to be more open minded so I decided to give yoga a shot. After finding a good instructor online in Yoga With Adriene, it has become a part of my daily routine. If you are new to the practice, I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and maybe you will find some inner peace along with your added flexibility and strength.

So maybe we should look to turn our living room into an actual “living” room. I don’t believe we are doing much living when we Netflix and Chill every night. The living room has potential for so much more. It is the room where we tend to congregate with our family, friends and newcomers, and this room speaks volumes. Do we really want the 6 giant media firms to be the ones in control of that voice? So how can we turn this room into a true “living” room?

Well, my first suggestion was yoga and it is a very accessible hobby. My first yoga mat cost me $15 and brought me shavasana or final relaxation. Building off this eastern practice we often find ourselves in the practice of meditation.  I am going to preach about this often on here because it is probably the simplest and most beneficial practice one can adopt. I am new to it, but I have already begun to see tremendous positive effects. I take 5 minutes out of every day to sit quietly and just focus on my breathing. It is that simple. Everyone can find 5 minutes to do this each day and if you are looking for guidance, try the app Insight Timer. Its free and has timers with soothing music as well as guided meditations.

 

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Remember books? Those weird smelly things that old people used before phones and kindles. Well call me old fashioned, but I think after all the time we spend staring at phones or computer screens all day, our eyes could use a rest at the end of the day. Why not incorporate a bookshelf into the living room or add some to that coffee table to stir up conversation? I try to read every single day. Some days that may only be for 10 minutes, but it adds up. Reading is a much calmer and more soothing way to end the day than the loud noises of TV shows or video games. Reading before bed allows me to get to sleep quicker and sleep deeper too. They help expand your vocabulary and can teach you about anything. Last book I read was about addiction to phones and iPads; maybe it encouraged me to write this article. They also give you all these neat little tidbits to sprinkle into conversations which will make you sound more cultured and interesting. Did you know that the Vikings intentionally misnamed Greenland and Iceland? They wanted to mislead future travelers so that they could keep the more pleasant Iceland to themselves.

I once had a pool table in a previous house and I cannot begin to count how many hours were spent playing games of pool. Whenever friends came over we would turn on some music and play hours of 8 ball and 9 ball and whatever game came to mind. Now this is a bit of a pricey item to get but it is worth it. Also, you can find more affordable alternatives like ping pong, air hockey or darts. I often see people on their phones as they are gathering around the TV but not as often during an intense game of darts and definitely not during ping pong. Bonus points for a curling rink in the living room. I have yet to experience this one, but I will gladly bring the beer if this is an option somewhere.

Just because something has always been this way, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best way to do things. I see change in a positive light. Being adaptive and open minded to try new things is how we grow. So maybe it is time to give the living a makeover and see what good we can achieve with this new look and feel. If nothing else, it is an excuse to get up and move around more. If you want to live like a Viking, you better get active.