May 16, 2010

There You Are

I've been awake for 24 hours and therefore delirious. I worked last night after a day I saw all of. Get it? You get it.

I haven't blogged much, but you haven't been here either so it's all good. Here's a blog post in case you come wandering by. Hi. I don't drink tea so I don't have any to offer, but if I did you'd be the first I'd present it to, in my prettiest tea cup no less. I don't have any tea cups either, so just picture one. Preferably one with yellow flowers.

I've felt off balance lately, in that I haven't spent much time doing things I actually like to do. I was stressed out the other day (the tyranny of the gas light and the distance of the pay day), and couldn't think of anything I wanted to do that would be relaxing.

So I made a decision. It's been about a year since I bid adieu to hundreds of channels and other than what I watch at work I haven't turned my TV on for non-olympic or award show programming in about that same time. That doesn't make me a media hermit though, because the amount of TV shows I watch online more than makes up for what I'm "missing".

On you can keep track of your shows and see a schedule of when the shows you choose to follow are on. I counted them yesterday to discover that I am currently following 36 shows that are currently on the air, so it doesn't include shows like Dexter which won't start again until the fall.

36 shows! That's whack. And the majority are hour long dramas. That's a whack of life being sucked into make believe. What's worse is a lot of these are shows that I don't particularly enjoy watching. So why, why, why do I bother?

I said back a few that I made a decision, and it is that after this season I'll be cold turkeying a lot of the shows I've been following and not picking them up again in the fall. Grey's Anatomy is on the cut list (seriously, it's terrible). 30 Rock is off the team (I know it's smart funny, but it doesn't make me giggle). Fortunately a lot of shows aren't coming back such as Lost, Heroes, 24 and Flash Forward, so the media moguls have done some of the work for me.

I like being hip to pop culture, but it's really not important enough to waste that much time and energy on. I don't have hobbies, I don't have marketable skills, I don't know how to fix stuff, I've never baked bread.

All good life things that I could do simply by turning my attention towards them. So, allons-y.

And if you'll let me go on (I am delirious, remember. I didn't say it'd be good). I was watching TV last night, which is a common night shift "activity" and the commercials were really getting to me. Of course people like fast food - literally billions of dollars have been spent making sure it appeals to the majority of people. I haven't had any since January and I know I'm not missing anything. People dedicate their lives and lotsa money to finding something that may or may not work that is appealing enough for people to buy a lot of. I don't want to be sucked in to something because it has a big marketing budget.

I want to want something because 1) I need it (like real need not false market driven need, 2) it'll add value to my life and 3) I can't make it myself. Lofty goals I suppose but why not try?

Of course people like crappy TV shows like Grey's Anatomy and Criminal Minds. Billions of dollars goes into designing these things for us. How can we resist?

I would hazard to guess that in the majority of homes where a TV exists, it is left on all day. Why are we giving them so much power over what goes into our heads? I'm really not trying to sound like a hippie, but seriously. Think about the messages going into brains when hundreds of commercials surround us all day, whether we're actively listening or not.

Cut your cable (save your money), find a few good shows that you find entertaining and watch them occasionally. Pare it down to one TV and put it into a low traffic room. Shut it off for more hours than it's on. Then get a hobby, figure out how to fix something you broke, change a lightbulb, vacuum your car, plant a little garden, knit a scarf, learn how to play an instrument.

Can you imagine what a different place this would be if we did things with intention? If the information we took in made us better, more talented people?

Sounds great to me. Now let's see if I actually follow through with it.


Anonymous said...

hi there,

I can relate to the way consuming too much tv feels like a chore. This new years I made a resolution to cut down the amount of tv i track, and not start to watch any new tv shows in 2010. So far, so good! As of january I'm only keeping track on 5 regular shows.

I've lived without cable for a few years now, and I really appreciate that I cannot turn the tv on at any time and just get "sucked" in. It's not worth my time.

Good luck on follow through - it will feel so good!

Evelyn said...

Getting down to 5 TV shows is my end goal. I'm sure it's possible :)

Ruth said...

I love this post! I concur, except the part about Grey's Anatomy. It is the one show I can't miss.

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Emily said...

I happened upon this post and I like it/ agree with it. Baking bread isn't hard. There's a recipe in every cookbook. Find one. Make it. It takes time but you can do other things while it rises. It's worth it.