It began as a simple challenge to the family to find ways to cut household expenses, a normal step for many families during these economic times.
After a couple of weeks of reflection, for reasons unclear, I decided I would give up watching t.v. Let me put this into context for you. For the past ten years anyway, I’ve not been one of those people who watches t.v. for hours every day. I haven’t watched t.v. news in at least five years. Don’t watch network shows since Seinfeld went off the air. My main t.v. watching was on Turner Classic Movies. I just love old movies. (I could write an entire article just on that topic!). And I watched sports: NFL, college football and basketball, and the Atlanta Braves baseball games. Oh, and of course I watched Swamp People!
Since I pulled the plug back in November I’ve watched the last half of the Super Bowl which I accidently discovered was playing free on the internet. And I’ve watched a couple of movies via Netflix. That’s it.
Despite what you might expect, this has turned out to be a surprisingly positive step for me. I have not “white knuckled” it. Actually, I haven’t missed it. There have been some surprising side benefits to this experiment, none of which are financial.
- I’ve learned to enjoy the quiet. Having spent years hunting in the fields, I knew that the quietness of nature was calming for me. I just hadn’t realized how intrusive the noise of t.v. was. It’s often just noise and no substance, nothing of value except for a distraction.
- My mind is calmer. I’m not constantly flipping back and forth through channels trying to find something I want to see and avoiding commercials at all cost. I’m not scrolling through options to DVR for later watching, which I rarely got around to anyway. All that can lead to agitation and impatience. And I don’t get mad at people for interrupting a show at a critical juncture.
- I have more time to think. While this can be an occupational hazard in my line of work, I harness the extra time and use it productively. We’ve forgotten how to sit with our thoughts. All our “idle” time now is spent in finding out what other people are thinking on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. As a result, our minds are filled with a cacophony of voices rather than sweet, smooth harmony.
- I have much more time to devote to hobbies – like writing and music. And I’ve been much more productive in each since going unplugged.
I’ve not become rabid about this change in my life, preaching to everyone to throw their t.v.’s into the lake. It’s just a quiet decision I made that turned out to be an unexpectedly pleasant one.
What about you? Have you ever done anything like this? What are your t.v. habits?
2 thoughts on “Three Months Without T.V.”
Do you remember when we unplugged for a year or so growing up? You may have been too young to remember. The alternative was to buy a hi-fi, really new stuff back then. And we joined the Columbia Record Club. Which began our own education into music genres. You’re right about thinking – you can’t pray or meditate or “write in your head” if the noise is on.
Wow, I do not remember that about turning off the t.v. But I do remember all those records we had. I’ll gladly trade all I gained (if anything) from t.v. for the way the music changed and benefited me.