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Life Without A Television For Over A Year
We Really Can Live Without Televison ~ I'm Not So Sure About Our Cats, Though!
Hard To Believe It's Been Over A Year Already ~
Like most homes in America, we always had a television. Also, like most Americans, we were in a type of a trance for several hours each evening after work. Our kids were in the same TV watching habit, only after school. It got to the point where we had television sets in practically every room. Our boys each had them in their rooms, we had one in our bedroom, there was one in the living room, and even one in the basement for when we were riding an exercise bike.
If I counted right, that is at least five TV sets we had throughout our home. Some of them would be on constantly, from the time we awakened in the morning, until we'd finally turn off the flickering box at night. Constant light, constant noise, constant chatter. A person could hardly even hear themselves think.
Since our boys are grown now and live in their own households and are busy with their own families, we found ourselves in the "empty nest" years of just my husband and myself. An airline he worked for went out of business, and he was unemployed for about eight months. He finally found a job, but it was over 2,000 miles away in Nevada. He came out to Nevada originally to begin working at his new job, while I stayed at our former home in Wisconsin.
I kept working, downsized our possessions and packed up what was left. All this in addition to trying to sell the home we had in Wisconsin. My husband was busy as well with working about ten hours a day, exercising in the evening and our daily phone calls. Once he found our home in Nevada, he moved in and made a conscious decision to go without a television.
He found he had so much more time to do things. He painted the entire house, he would go for long walks on the famous Strip here in Las Vegas. He would walk for hours getting to know all the hotels, places to shop, eat, and other places unique to each hotel. He ended up losing about thirty pounds from all the walking, which was a definite benefit.
I still had television at our home in Wisconsin and wondered how in the world he could survive without a TV. It was a decision not based on money factors, although it IS incredibly nice to save about $150 a month that we were spending on a cable television bundle plan. We had cable television, a land-line phone and internet for about $150 a month.
Once he was living in Las Vegas, he found that he did not have any need for a land line phone. The cell phone was fine and all that he needed. He also felt he had no time to even watch TV any more, much less a desire to do that. Between working and all the activities there are to do here in Las Vegas, he was getting along fine without a television set. The only thing needed was Internet, and we found that through a service called CLEAR.
He kept telling me "try it you'll like it" when it came to giving up TV. I had TV while I was still in Wisconsin. But, to be honest, a lot of times the television was on to serve only as background noise while I was busy doing other things. I got to the point where I was hardly paying any attention to it anyway, so why bother even turning it on? I had the cable disconnected and cancelled right before coming down to join my husband here in Las Vegas, and I haven't looked back.
Even With TV's Available Everywhere, We Still Find We Don't Watch Them ~
There are TV's in practically every casino here in Las Vegas, and even though they are on in the background, we find that we hardly even pay any attention to them. They are there, but we rarely if ever find ourselves sitting and watching anything on them.
Most casinos here have televisions for the sports games that people enjoy watching while they are at the casino. Occasionally we will go and have a hot dog or quick meal at the casino and watch for maybe 1/2 hour or so. I have never liked football anyway, so I am just there to people watch and I barely pay attention to what is on the screen. Even my husband doesn't watch anything for long.
What To Do Without A TV ~
It's funny, we get asked "what do you DO without a TV?" Our answer? Go to live shows, go hiking up in Red Rock Canyon, go hiking at Valley of Fire State Park, go walking to get exercise, go out to eat, cleaning, projects around the house, learning and writing on the Internet, and reading. I do the writing, my husband usually surfs the net for information and news.
I've gotten more writing done and learned more new things simply by unplugging that flickering box than I think I ever would have gotten done in my life otherwise. We both read books from the library and have learned to love reading all over again. I used to say I didn't have time for reading in my life... that was because the flickering box was taking so much time away, like a thief, like a mind-numbing thief.
TV Became Like A Thief, Stealing Our Time ~
Television, we found, consumes you after a while. You have it on even if you're not watching. It becomes like a pacifier constantly yakking at you in the background with or without an audience. I used to come home from work, settle into a comfortable recliner and promptly fall asleep watching the flickering box. It seemed to be more of a tool to fall asleep to than to actually watch anything on.
I found once I moved here and didn't have television, it forces you to find other things to do instead. I go swimming almost every day during the summer. Not only is swimming great exercise, it is so relaxing and enjoyable to swim while looking up at the dark blue sky and the pretty palm trees. I would be missing all of that if I was stuck inside the house watching the flickering box. I love being outdoors and being in the sun.
When we lived in Wisconsin, we didn't see nearly as much sun or warm weather. We figure since we are living in a sunshine warm weather place, why not get out and enjoy it? Between writing, cleaning, swimming, having a nice dinner with my husband, then going for an evening walk... who has time for TV? I hate to admit it but my husband was r... r..... r..... right. I actually find that I don't miss TV since I've gone for about a year and a half now without it.
I think if we lived someplace that didn't have as many things to do, and that didn't have the beautiful sunshine and warm weather and didn't have so many places to go walk, so many live shows to see, so many people watching opportunities... maybe we would go back to having a television. Then again, maybe we have now gotten so used to being "unplugged" that we might decide never to go back to sitting in front of a flickering box again.
I did miss shows like "Dancing With The Stars" I guess... for about a week. Then I found that if I really wanted to see what people were talking about, I could catch "highlights" on the Internet and not have to sit through two hours of mindless drivel just to see those highlights. The other good thing is that with services like HULU, you can watch a TV show if you want to see what all the hype is about.
I actually did watch HULU for a bit recently when I had the flu. It would have been really difficult to go walking or do other activities, and eventually I got tired of the computer. So, I gave in for an evening or two and watched a "Dancing With The Stars" episode on HULU as well as a new show about Nashville and the music business. So, if you really do want to watch something, you can do that. But, you really don't have to pay the outrageous prices charged by cable TV providers and Satellite TV providers to do that.
Will We Ever Go Back To Having A Television? I'm Not Sure, But Maybe Not ~
All it takes to give up television is a bit of commitment and a desire to do other things instead of sitting in front of a flickering box. I used to also have terrible dreams before. I would be bombarded all day long by news alerts, news channels and a constant stream of people arguing with one another over topics. It led me to have some pretty bad and frightening dreams. I don't have that problem any more.
I can't tell anyone who really enjoys TV to give it up, and giving it up might not be for everyone. I just know that we have given up watching TV and it works for us. My husband has been "TV-free" for almost two years now, and I have been for 1 1 /2 years. We don't feel like we've missed a whole lot.
We were talking the other day and decided that a "celebrity" from some Reality TV show could be walking through any casino or any shopping center here in Las Vegas, and we would have NO IDEA who that person is. In a way, that's kind of a freeing feeling. To not feel nervous around someone because they are famous, to not have any desire to ask that person for an autograph, because you have no idea who they are, is kind of a neat feeling. It doesn't mean you stick your head in the sand and have no idea what is going on in the world, though.
We get plenty of news from news websites and from headlines on just about any home page you choose to have on the Internet. My husband uses MSN and I use Yahoo. Any of them have all the latest and most important headlines and you can watch news on any of the news websites, on your own time, when you want to watch them. You don't have to watch the same news stories over and over either. That's been a really nice benefit of unplugging.
So, can you live without TV? Probably. I've seen a lot on the Internet lately about people who have given up TV, and honestly, after doing it ourselves for over a year now, we don't even miss it. It makes your home a more relaxing place, a haven from the outside world and all its distractions, so why invite those distractions into your home by turning on a television set? At least that's the way we feel about it right now.
For now, this works for us. If you try it, you might just find you like it, and you might save over $1,500 a year or more in the process, money that would have gone to pay for cable or satellite TV. We feel as if we are living a healthier life without TV, but we also realize it's not for everyone. If you do decide to go without TV, good luck and enjoy the benefits! I think you might find some of the same benefits we've found from the simple act of unplugging the television set.
An Update ~ Nearly Five Years Now With No Television!
Looking back on this article now, many of the things I wrote here are still true today! We have been living here in Las Vegas for about five years now, and we still don't feel a need to have a television.
There were a couple times when I missed having a TV, especially when I was sick with the flu and got tired of looking at the computer or cell phone. I remembered thinking it would have been nice to have the TV on to watch and to help me to fall asleep when I was sick!
All kidding aside, though, if there are times we feel like watching something, we can use Netflix, which we pay a minimal monthly fee for. I know that some of the programming on there is older, but since we've gone without TV for this long, it all seems new to us!
A while back, I watched several episodes of the show "Sons Of Anarchy" and found that to be intriguing. Netflix worked just fine for that purpose. What I like about Netflix is that the TV streams with NO commercials! That's something that used to bother me about commercial television! All that time you'd spend out of every hour watching useless, repetitive commercials!
So, we are still going strong without TV after five years, and we don't miss it too much. If there is an awards show on, I often find friends commenting about it on Facebook (funny comments, too!) Then, I can watch highlights the next morning without having to sit through hours of droll content or terrible musical groups!
If there is a football game on my husband would like to watch, we always have the casinos to go to so we can watch there. The good thing about the casinos is that you get the atmosphere and the excitement of a live performance (as far as the audience reactions go!) We've even gone to the casinos to watch events like the Kentucky Derby. And people who are also at the casino watching it dress up in derby hats for the event! Sometimes the people in the audience are just as entertaining as whatever is on television!