Ten Benefits I Enjoy Because I Don't Own A TV
I haven’t owned a television since September 2008. At the time, I was moving across the country and didn’t have room to take my TV with. After I gave this TV to a friend, I didn’t immediately think about replacing this TV once in my new home. Since I ended up living in a 200 square foot studio apartment in order to save money, I didn’t have significant space for a TV. In the years since, I’ve occasionally wondered if I should buy another TV, yet most of the time I am happy to do without. It isn’t like I don’t watch TV, however; I certainly watch it while visiting friends and family. And, on the rare occasion when I want to rent a movie, I watch this on my computer. Nonetheless, I find my TV-free existence satisfying overall. My goal with this article is not to convince any and all readers to give their TVs away and behave similarly; I merely want to highlight the benefits I’ve enjoyed from living without one.
The first advantage is I am inspired to read more. I’ve loved books since I was a small child, and this affinity is obvious because I have two full bookcases as well as books stacked on dressers and my office floor. Unless I am reading a thriller or a particularly cryptic, academic volume, I find reading relaxing. Consequently, reading before bed—instead of watching TV like many others do—helps me unwind and prepare for slumber. That is, of course, unless I’ve started reading a volume such as Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” which was so engaging it was nearly impossible to set aside no matter how much I needed to sleep.
Another advantage is I don’t have a routine involving a TV. In other words, I don’t have my favorite shows to watch on Tuesday night or Saturday morning. Similarly, I don’t automatically have a TV to turn on if I can’t decide what else to do. Being without a TV inspires me to take walks, go to free university-sponsored events, knit, or play card games with my friends. I can also make a collage, write a letter, or paint a bulletin board.
Which of these activities interests you most?
Without a TV I see limited sensational news footage about recent school shootings, natural disasters, and political scandals. I much prefer to discover this information on the Internet, or wait to hear about the events from friends and family. It’s remarkable how much I can find out from others without having to watch the news.
A fourth benefit of not owning a TV is I have learned how to best entertain myself instead of wanting to be amused and entertained by a TV show. I may seem too easily entertained by the standards of some, as I can easily be diverted by noticing quirky bumper stickers on cars or by meeting dogs and their owners at a local park. Also, I like to explore thrift stores in search of colorful shirts from the 1970s which I refuse to live without.
As already mentioned, I once lived in a 200 square foot apartment. This apartment was so small it was difficult to add a small desk; needless to say, I cannot imagine figuring out where I would have put a TV. I lived in this apartment for almost fifteen months. Afterwards, I moved into a 315 square foot apartment where I possibly could have found room for a TV. Since I knew I could always visit my Grandma Glenna’s if I wanted to watch TV, I decided to do without one. My current apartment is large enough to comfortable include a TV; by now, however, I’m so used to being without one it’s difficult to imagine adding one to my current existence.
This leads me to my next point: Since I watch TV less than many people, I thoroughly enjoy the TV I watch. Last February I watched many hours of the Sochi Winter Olympics, and this was such a treat partly because I rarely watch TV.
I’ve learned that my friends and family usually let me know what TV shows are currently popular. As a result, I am aware of “Downton Abbey” even though I’ve never watched it. I also know a surprising amount about “Dr. Who” based on what my friends and family members have told me. This is all to say I am not necessarily in the dark about what people are watching on TV even though I don’t own a TV.
Living without a TV means I don’t spend money on cable TV. I’ve taken this thriftiness to a new level by not even having a Netflix account so I can watch movies, documentaries, and TV shows on my computer.
Not owning a TV has turned out to be a worthwhile social experiment. In other words, I find it fascinating how people react once they learn I don’t have a TV. Certain individuals are aghast at the thought, whereas others are intrigued. Others, unfortunately, seem to believe I am a snob who doesn’t believe anyone should have a TV.
This is far from the case. In fact, not having a TV has helped me be more accepting of the lifestyle choices of others. By examining my reasons for not owning a TV, I better understand why others might find having a TV a necessity. One reason living without a TV is easier for me is because, aside from the Olympics, gymnastics, and figure skating events, I rarely watch sports on TV. The main exceptions to this is if I am visiting a friend who is watching sports or if I am attending a Super Bowl party.
It’s possible I’ll one day purchase another TV. I’m not opposed to this idea, and will make that decision once I’m faced with it. For now, however, I find my TV-free existence most satisfying.