I’ve done it. I’ve cancelled all but the most basic TV service (I tried to all-out cancel but Telus made me an offer I couldn’t refuse). I’ve committed to no TV for June, July, and August. All that I’m allowed is my Netflix.
You know those cute little studies on kid’s TV habits that are reported like the world’s children are about to go extinct? You know — “a report shows that children are spending up to a whopping 2 hours per day in front of the television set!”
I read those and think, “Amateurs.”
I can — and have — spent all day watching TV. I don’t mean four or five hours, now. I mean ALL day. I mean that I get up on a Saturday at 8am, grab my tea and put on the PVR and start watching four to seven shows that I missed during the week. Not missed because I was out living life necessarily, but often missed because there were other shows to watch at the same time.
Once the PVR is clean, you’d think that I might start my day. Nope. Usually, I pop up and either make myself some lunch or run out for a quick drive thru meal. Then, I come back to the TV and continue my day. By around 10pm, my back is sore, my left hip is complaining loudly and the dog is begging to go to bed. So we do.
Let me be clear — I have no problem with television. I think it can be a creative, interesting, informative medium. I think it can capture an audience and relay, teach, and explain concepts like no other. I am not doing this to punish myself. I am not doing it to show that TV is a time suck (which, for me, it certainly can be — I just don’t need an experiment to show it).
I’m doing this because, besides being an avid consumer of television, I am a creative person, I am a lover of books, I am a triathlete who has not trained in months. In short, I am more than the person sitting on the couch devouring whatever that slender black box wants to throw at me.
I want to fully experience that person this summer.
I am two weeks into it.
So far, I have read several books — many of which while sitting on my patio enjoying the outdoors. I’ll write reviews for a few of them in coming weeks (since I have the time now).
I have whiled away a few evenings on my friend’s patio, just eating good food, enjoying a beverage or two, and discussing the really important things in life. Everything from what we want to be when we grow up (assuming that will happen at some point), the men in our lives and those not in our lives, the little people of our world, family, and the universe in general. They are amazing evenings. I hope everyone gets to experience something similar this summer.
Maddie the dog and I have been going for long, lazy walks every evening. I think I’ve only missed one night and we were out and about that night, so that was even better.
Have I watched TV? Less than three hours in 16 days. Two hours of that was a Netflix movie I watched over two evenings. I do occasionally turn on the news for five minutes (all included in my estimate above) but find that I get bored really easily with it. In fact, when I noticed this I realized that I had spent the entire winter watching TV while playing Solitaire on my phone. Even then, during my habitual watching, I found a lot of it boring. Huh.
In some ways, it feels like life has a lot of possibility because I no longer feel short on time. The challenge now is figuring out what to do. Time still feels precious and I don’t want to waste the hours I’ve been given (or the hours I’ve taken back, depending on how you see it).
What I’m still looking forward to:
- Sewing — so many projects
- Swimming — I can feel the softness of the water slipping over my skin even as I write this. I miss it
- Running — finding the right time of day to not melt and a nice trail with shy bears
- Biking — specifically, getting more confident on my bike, especially with traffic (i.e. one car)
- Night Markets — I’ve never been to one and I think it’s time
- Shopping at farms and farmers markets — with the new recycling/garbage regulations in Coquitlam, I am craving products with no or little wrapping/packaging
- Decluttering and organizing my condo — I’ve recently read “The life-changing magic of tidying up” and I’ve decided that the program it details will be my overarching summer project. This both excites and terrifies me. More on this later.
So, there it is. When I decided to eliminate habitual TV watching from my world, I didn’t not expect to feel this free and this excited about the possibilities. I thought it would be harder. I’m so happy at the results so far and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.