Breaking Up With Television
Did you know the average American watches thirty four hours of television per week? THIRTY FOUR!!!!!
That's about 5 hours a day - almost a full time job.
Now, I love a good show. My favs? Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow, and Grimm. I call them "my shows." Rain or shine, I catch up with my shows every week, like old friends. I need to know what happens. Last fall I was so slammed with client work that I postponed watching my shows until the holidays. I felt like I couldn't watch anything knowing my tribe was waiting patiently for me to give them their beautiful galleries before Christmas card season, so I worked instead of played. Catching up would be my reward, I told myself. And then the holidays rolled around and I put it off a little longer.
And then I actually started to feel overwhelmed at the backlog of catching up I had to do. So I spent my time reading, redesigning my websites, writing new content, generating instagram feeds and captions, and a million other things that caught my interest. Then Spring came, and I realized something - I didn't miss them. I didn't wonder what was happening on my shows. And then I realized that by not watching shows, I got hours of my week back to do things that were meaningful. To read. To write. To edit. To garden. To paint. This is an epiphany you guys! By not watching "my shows," I got time to do the things that I loved, not just enjoyed moderately. It should be obvious, but being aware of that in the haze of our world today is not easy.
Now JD and I watch about one hour a week - an episode of New Girl or Top Gear (now Grand Tour) here and there once the kids are down - and that's enough for us. I'm not advising everyone stop cold turkey, but maybe there's a strand of truth here that can be borrowed and adapted. Perhaps instead of watching so many, pick a couple of favorites to look forward to and keep the television off the rest of the time.
Speaking of television, six years ago we sold ours and never looked back. We watch shows on our laptop. No commercials. No mindless viewing. It's small, yes, but it's enough for us. Now when we want to watch something, we have to be intentional about it. When we were first married we would sit in front of the tv after work, even eating meals in front of it, and then all of a sudden it was time to go to bed and where did our night go? It was gone, never to be retrieved.
I'm also finding that not only do I have time to do what I love, but I haven't consumed a billion ads where people are telling me what I need to buy and the next must-see show. I check out from all of that. In this way, ignorance really is bliss. I don't have a fear of missing out because I don't know what I'm "missing out" on - which is actually not much. You guys, we are so content not being told what we need by our consumer-driven society. Ditching shows has been one of the best decisions of our lives, and for our kids, too. They're watching the shows we choose on Netflix or Prime, not whatever happens to be on cable, whether appropriate or not. No commercials. No ads. No gimmies. No one telling your kid (and YES, they advertise to YOUR KID) what they need to beg you for - what will make them happy.
You might think this is crazy, but now that I have experienced life without "my shows," I've realized how crazy it is to give my sacred time to Hollywood, meaningless storylines, and materialism.
Sound nuts? It might be, but let's start asking some questions, the first one being: what would you do with 34 hours of your life back? What are your favorite shows? Could you narrow it down to your top 10? Top 5? Top 3? Could you keep the tv off when you get home? Could you sit at the table without the white noise?
Try it! And then tell me how it goes...