Something About Not Watching TV

The last couple of nights I’ve spent watching television after I came home, just to see if it still held any merit for me anymore. Here are some things I have to share about that experience and why I don’t plan on doing it for much longer whatsoever, excluding DVDs.So, after work last night, I decided to get back into my old nightly viewing habits, which consisted of King of the Hill, Seinfeld, Futurama, Family Guy, and the occasional Law and Order, and South Park, which all play within the same two hour window, so I spend most of my time flipping back and forth from channel to channel during commercials. There were two episodes each of King of the Hill, Seinfeld, and Futurama last night as well, so I was actually watching nine or so total shows. The time span was from 10:35 until about one in the morning. It was a very passive last waking hours.

I woke up today and had no thoughts of the shows I watched, although I could remember them with a conscious effort. I had seen all of the shows before, meaning that particular episode, in the past, barring the Law and Order episode. For some reason, remembering watching those particular shows did something for me. I guess it’s the fact that not all memory is perfect and we need to see things a couple of times before they really have meaning, but even then, they don’t really contribute to my life when I’m not watching them, unless we’re holding discussions about television shows. Which I rarely take part in.

I could have come home, sat down here at my computer and written a blog post, or even journaled about my day and my state of mind. But no, I figured, at the time I came in, that doing those sort of things would be too time consuming at the late hour, and opted to sit in front of the television, taking in nine shows in one-and-a-half hours. It was just convenient, but at the same time, relaxing. I’m all for relaxation, but after watching the Patriots-Colts game on Sunday with my family, I know that television can be more than just a passive activity. My mother could not sleep after the pathetic display the Pats put on.

Now I’m not really the biggest sports fan anymore, but when I was, the Patriots and Red Sox were a big part of my life. After moving to the deep south from New England, a region who prides itself in its sports teams, I became less interested in watching sports, partly because my teams’ games were shown so sparingly here. Not only that, but it seemed every time my team was shown on television, they lost. So it wasn’t really worth the time or the frustration. Sure, I’m still Patriots and Red Sox fans, but since they’ve both won the highest awards they could have in the past three years, I see no reason to watch them anymore with an attachment to outcomes. If I’m going to watch them, I have to do it in a less stressful manner.

I find that rather than watching television, I can use that time to do things that are more beneficial to me. I can finish writing my book or learn a new language, possibly talk with someone over the phone or in person. Watching television is something to do when you can’t find any other activity to pursue. That is something I have to stop doing on a regular basis. I hate having televisions in the house sometimes because if they’re on, you really can’t help but look. It’s the whole stimulus-response mechanism where the people who run the shows know just what images to display to immediately get your attention. Maybe I should walk around with my eyes closed. At least that way I won’t see the newest Geico commercial.

I was barely even awake last night while watching Law and Order, and my head was tilted to the side as my neck could no longer support my head, but I kept my eyes open, mostly, to watch that show. It took almost and insurmountable amount of willpower to turn the damn thing off. I ended up falling asleep in the chair in which I watched these shows, then, in the middle of the night, went into my bedroom. I ended up sleeping until 11:30 this morning and I was a bit discouraged because lately, I have been unable to get out of bed, possibly in correlation with the television watching. Maybe it sucks energy out of me. It’s definitely a possibility. All I know is that I definitely function better when I don’t watch it. So perhaps it is time to rid myself of it for good. Maybe not.

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One Response to Something About Not Watching TV

  1. Liara Covert says:

    When a friend of mine discovered there was more to life than t.v., he discovered the benefits to reading and motivated himself to put together the business plan which transformed his life for the better. He still likes Discovery and National Geo shows, but his life now implements his real vision for his future outside that mechanical box.
    He seems to be a much happier person living his own life, not vicariously through tv.

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