Monday, January 24, 2011

easing away from the television

Over the past couple of years, I've developed quite the love-hate relationship with my TV. While I enjoy watching hours of reality TV and other nonsense shows, I definitely use it to avoid doing anything really productive. Instead of reading for class, cleaning up the apartment, or writing, I would get sucked into Law and Order marathon, and later go to bed feeling unaccomplished and unproductive.

When I started college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my undergraduate years. I had assumed (for most of high school) that I would ultimately go to law school, yet didn't have a clear idea of how to get there. In addition, when I got to college, I no longer had someone pushing me to do my work. [I now realize that I had never needed to motivate myself-- my parents always made sure that we did our work, and I never learned to think for myself.] Therefore, I spent very little time on school and learning, instead choosing to socialize, or, more often during the week, watch TV. Only recently (within the past year) have I begun to fully understand that there will always be "fun" things standing in the way of working on schoolwork, long-term projects, or even household work. While a night of drinking with friends certainly produces some fun memories, it doesn't make all my other responsibilities go away. And the existence of thousands of things to watch via Netflix does not negate the pressing need to do my other work.

Growing up, we watched very little TV, and by the time I was in high school, I always felt as though I was missing out on all the fun seemingly everyone else was having. When friends asked if I saw the latest episode of "Friends" or "Grey's Anatomy," I invariably had to answer "no," and often felt left out. Thus, by my freshman year of college, I was starved to finally be part of the conversation. I watched lots of TV, and the habit become worse as the years went on. Even when J and I moved in together in late 2009, and we didn't have cable, I would watch TV for hours, even if I didn't particularly enjoy what was on. With the advent of Hulu, and now Netflix, there was no need to watch what was on-- I could pick how I wanted to be entertained.

Now, it is time to move on. While there are certainly hundreds of shows that I could potentially find entertaining, I don't have anything to show for all the time I've spent in front of the television. And that's unlikely to change. As much as I love the "Real Housewives" franchise with all of its drama and theatrics, I certainly don't think that watching those shows makes my life better. [If anything, it makes me negative. How can most of those women be okay with acting so childish and inappropriate? Shouldn't they be showing the world that they are doing something with their lives, instead of perpetuating the notions that women can't be taken seriously?] Also not particularly helpful? My semi-obessive need to watch all the Law and Order SVU episodes. All it does is make me paranoid... who needs that? Ha!

Not that I want to quit entirely. J and I love watching "House," and "Modern Family," and we'll likely continue to bond over new episodes. But for now, I'll plan on only watching TV while I'm working out. If nothing else, I'll at least have a trimmer body to show for my time staring at the tube.

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