Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do I Like It, or Do I Value It?

I really like tv. I'm kind of embarrassed that I like it, not because I feel stupid, but because I feel lazy. In my defense I am always doing something else while I watch, but those tasks do have to be limited to ones that can be accomplished sitting on the couch, or at the very most coming in and out of the living room. That seriously limits my productivity. Even as I write, a Law & Order SVU distracts me from full attention- but in my defense, listen to this plot line: A guy commits horrendous crimes while intoxicated, and uses his alcoholic black-outs as a defense, citing temporary insanity due to alcoholism. Things are not looking good for him, when- get this- the prosecutor stumbles in, clothes-disheveled, slurred of speech, eyes bloodshot- drunk, herself! Trial over. He walks. No wonder my attention is diverted, right?
So where were we...Oh, right. I mean, there's the aforementioned Law & Order, which following one of the basic laws of nature states that at any hour of the day, no matter where you are, there will always be an episode running. So there's that, as well as Burn Notice, Chuck, American idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Psych, Lost, Survivor, House, Community, The Office, Parks & Rec, Tabatha's Salon Takeover and many, many others. Not to mention shows in syndication, tv on dvd like Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, Wonderfalls- and never forget about Lifetime movies. They now have an entire network devoted to them- all Lifetime movies, all the time. If all else fails, there is always something educational on to offset some of the ill effects of so much tv consumption.
After Bella was born, I had the tv on almost 24-7 just to give me a sense of company, whether I was listening or not.
Cut to now. I enjoy tv, I don't value it. The sad thing, the embarrassing thing to admit is that I am a little afraid to give it up. If I give it up, I have to be more engaged, more involved. Which ultimately I want, but requires more of me. More energy. More action, productivity, creativity- which all sound like good things, but harder to act on than laziness. I know that if we just cut tv out I would have so much more to show. I know I will never look back and say, "I just wish I had watched more tv." Let's run with this- the ill effects of tv. I hate my girls seeing advertisements supporting commercialism, consumerism, creepy prostitute-dolls and sugary crap.. I hate hearing Bella sing commercial jingle and catch phrases, reminding me of the influences she has. I hate that it "does" everything, requiring little from them. I hate having nothing to show for myself but a line up of shows. But here we are.
I'm working my way towards this. It would be a bit of a leap of faith, which saddens me to say. It seems so pathetic. Tv is just another way that I allow myself to watch my life and the lives of others pass me by instead of actually engaging in it. I feel like I am always virtually-experiencing life, vicariously. There's less required of me that way, less risk, and much, much less reward.


Anonymous said...

Do an experiment...give it up for a month. If you are miserable...plug it back in. During that month just watch movies if you neeeed that tube time and are getting the shakes! I know you and Timm chill out and watch stuff- but play games sometimes instead? Bananagrams and Boggle as well as San Juan are great two player games :) OR workout together...

This is of course coming from someone that gave it up and now doesn't know how I had time to watch it before...and unless it is a date night I try to be doing something (fold laundry, working out, making lists- you know) while watching whatever when I do. I shake my head when I realize the time I used to waste with crappy tv. But it does mean you are doing more and more engaged in the lives around you- which ain't too shabby!

michelle said...

I really don't watch that much tv. At night, I watch a show with Marc and the boys, while I fold clothes or knit. That's about all I have time for these days -- I haven't even been watching the Olympics, which is shocking to me.

Or am I just in denial? I don't want to give up tv. But I applaud you for wanting to be more involved and productive. Let me know how it goes.

Jill said...

I hear what you're saying with this and sometimes experience inklings of the same feelings, but mostly I really love having shows to watch at night with Randy.

Our kids never watch live TV so they rarely see any commercials, so that takes the edge off for me.

Amy said...

My favorite is when Kaitlin can repeat all of the benefits of a product she saw on an infomercial. Currently she loves the Snuggie and the Bumpit.

I'm like you. I love TV. I never want to give it up, but I've limited the amount that I watch. Thursday night is my main night to sit on the couch and veg out. Otherwise I am usually doing something else, like reading, crafting or cleaning. I never let myself add more than one new show a year, and I am really careful to edit out shows that I just don't enjoy anymore.

My advice, wean yourself slowly. Treat it like cleaning out a closet. Make a few hard decisions, but allow yourself to hold on to a few favorites. And remember, whenever you forbid yourself to have something you generally just want it more. So give yourself permission to watch. Just don't overindulge. ;)

Susan said...

News in the morning.
News at bedtime.
NO sitcoms.
NO HGTV, much to my client's dismays.
Some Whitecolor and the like while doing email catchup.

I like all the former comments and think you should try out some of their encouraging comments.

Give it a go.

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