Life without TV, month 3

My name is Alexander, and I’m a TV-addict. Not a hard-core addict, I just have very little will power when it comes to resisting TV.

If I have a TV, I’ll typically watch 2-3 hours a day on weekdays and more in the weekends. The amount of time I spend in front of the TV is totally unrelated to the quality of the programs. If I can’t find one good program, I’ll zap between 5 bad ones.

The solution is simple: Loose the TV, and so we did. On january 2nd, my girlfriend and I packed away our TV, and it’s been sitting in the basement ever since. What follows is a report from our lives after two months without a TV.

Actually, it’s not the first time I’ve lived without TV. I’ve done it, and enjoyed it before. Still, the first week was pretty hard. I’d developed a habit of coming home in the evening and automatically turning the TV on, and the first few days, I found myself wanting to do just that, and being a little surprised because the TV wasn’t there. The evenings felt a little… empty. Like: It’s 8 o’clock. I’ve had dinner, and there’s nothing important I need to do. I can’t go to bed before 11:30… What am I gonna do for the next 3-4 hours?

After the first week, that feeling went away, and now I rarely miss watching TV. When I do, I have a pretty good cure: If we feel like getting the TV out, we first check the TV listings to see if anyhting good is showing that evening… And nothing ever is.

The advantages are many, but the time gained is the most important. I read more books now, work more on my projects, do more blogging (here and elsewhere), do the dishes more often and go to the movies more.

Also, an evening watching TV often left me feeling tired and passive, whereas an evening reading a good book or going to the movies has a totally different quality to it. I feel more like a participant in and less than a spectator to life.

The occasions where i REALLY miss having a TV is when I’m hungover. Nothing gets you through the day after like TV.

As for news, I now get all my news on the net, which has the advantage that I choose what news I read about, and I can look for different angles on any story. TV news will stick you with one angle on any given story, and they rarely have time to deliver any deep, meaningful coverage. Yes, they invite people with opposing views to present their views on TV – but they rarely get more than a few minutes each to present their case, which in the case of any important news item is totally inadequate.

So my conclusion is that my life is better without a TV. It’s actually a lot better. If you’ve never tried it, you ought to consider it. Give yourself some time without a TV – say two or three weeks. See how it feels. You may find that you like it.

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