Weaning Yourself Off TV
Too Much TV?
Now I'm not hear to say TV is all bad, but I do think some people spend too much time staring in front of a screen to the point where they miss out on being healthy and having a life (outside of their relationship with TV shows). Is this you? Maybe you want to change but think you can't give up your favorite shows? Let's examine this prevalence of TV in our lives and see if it's all that necessary.
Benefits of Watching TV
I betcha thought I was going to start off by listing all the reasons you should stop watching TV. No, and simply because TV is not all bad. There are good, entertaining programs on it and plenty of educational material to soak up. You can watch TV and be hip with all the cool shows, know all the cool news topics, connect with cool strangers, and generally be pop-culture savvy and cool. The problem comes when TV watching comes at the expense of other important activities; activities that would sum up to the completion of worthwhile goals you may hold (or may cross your mind every January 1st). If you're feeling a twinge of guilt right now, you know what I'm talking about...
Disadvantages of Watching TV
The truth is most of us have to work five days out of seven and most of us are thus short on time. We're so short on time we eat "TV dinners" and try to park close to the stores to have to walk less when we shop. While we live in a convenience culture that feeds this time-stolen lifestyle with quick-fixes and convenience store prices, the truth is most of us feel somewhat time-robbed. Watching TV decompresses us and feels like a stress relief. But TV also eats up our time and encourages us to purchase more than we'd maybe really want or need.
...Time that can be better spent accomplishing impressive and important noble efforts, like living on a budget (balancing our personal finances), getting adequate exercise, cooking natural and whole, healthy foods, visiting friends and family, and time that can be spent finding our real purpose in life.
I have lived without TV for over 8 years now. I don't miss it and while I enjoy movies, I found being away from TV has made me impatient with TV shows -- they just don't seem to end, and frankly the jokes are often stale. I get antsy when watching shows, get bored with exploitation reality shows, and I HATE commercials. Commercials I find manipulative, obnoxious, boring, and loud. Without TV and without commercials I live a very authentic life and do not buy needless items. I balance my budget every month (something that many people claim not to have time to do). Without TV I have found time for the following:
- acting in plays and short films
- crewing on short films
- art and drawing
- taking classes on everything from getting a TESOL (Teach English to Students of Other Languages) certification to French
- write on Hubpages
- wrote a novel
- part of a screenwriter's group
- visits with nephews, family, and friends
- run 5Ks
- walk around my city
- read books
- volunteer for charities
- travel (because I've saved up money with my nifty budget)
In short, I've been able to accomplish worthwhile goals that I've set for myself.
Tips to Quit TV
If you're ready to take that step to add more hours to your life and get your head out of the fog of TV life and back into the reality of REAL life, here are some tips to help you out:
- Stop putting off things you've been meaning to do or try because you don't have the time. Want to learn guitar or another instrument? Want to take a class? Have you been meaning to spend more quality time with your children? Just turn off the flicker and get at it.
- Make a list of all the fun things you'd do if you had more time.
- Now make a list of all the necessary things you've been meaning to do when you have time (doing a monthly budget, cleaning, etc.)
If you would consider yourself very addicted to TV, it might help to record your very favorite shows for a while so you can pull yourself away from TV enough to savor the free hours you get by dropping TV. This way you can always go back to the shows if this "experiment" doesn't work. But you may find you're able to drop some shows and decide you want to keep other ones. Nothing wrong with that. It's your life and you get to create the quality of it. By ditching TV for a while you may just find you're able to improve the quality of your real life enough that you'll enjoy having those extra hours around.
Here's to happy living.