photo by sm3287 via flickr
growing up, t.v. and movies were a huge part of my life. HUGE. my family wasn't one for winter sports, or hiking, or playing boardgames. we watched t.v., and we went to movies. (we would also get into huge debates about said t.v. shows and movies, so we weren't simply mindless drones.)
thus, as i got older and moved out with the boy, spending evenings watching t.v. was already a giant habit. then you also have to consider we were in the honeymoon stage of our relationship and wanted to spend every moment with each other - so most weekends were spent on the couch with a bottle of wine, a bowl of popcorn and a dozen movies or t.v. shows.
and so, when the day came that we decided to cancel our cable (to save money, and hey, we were downloading almost everything we wanted to watch anyways), i'm pretty sure my heart broke a little. there went my mindless evening activity after a hard day at work. sigh.
but you know what? six months after the fact, i don't miss it at all.
gasp. i know.
here is what i've learned in six months of cable-free living:
mindless t.v. viewing leads to mindless snacking
the boy and i had a box of microwave popcorn a week habit. we would make a bowl or two almost every night while sitting back with some breaking bad, or the walking dead or glee (my choice, not his). i don't think we ever realized how much we'd snack in a night. going without t.v. has freed us of this habit, and helped us rediscover our waistlines.
it is way too easy to kill an entire night in front of the t.v.
think about it. have you ever noticed how easily the hours fly by while parked in front of the t.v.? you get home and next thing you know it's 11 p.m. and you're heading for bed. where did the time (and your life) go?
it's nice not to have to tie yourself down to a set schedule
if i want to cook dinner at 5:30 or 7, i can. if i want to get some serious writing done, i don't need to worry about keeping track of time. if i want to throw down and have a dance-off with my husband (true story) in the middle of an episode, i can pause the damn thing (hello download) and do so. my time has become my own again. i set my own schedule.
t.v. makes me lazy. and unproductive
looking back at the past 23 years of my life, i started wondering how much i could have accomplished (finished homework earlier and had more time for friends, written the great canadian novel...) had i not spent so much time on the couch. how much more productive could you be? how much more fun could you be having (with friends, family, etc.)?
i'd kinda rather be reading, or doing something else anyways
setting aside the productive things you could be doing, other recreational activities are actually more fun. the boy and i play chess or backgammon. we put together puzzles. we play cards. (we no longer play monopoly, but that's a story for a different day.) if we feel like each doing our own thing, i read or write, and he plays a video game or reads books online. only sometimes do we actually put on an episode of a t.v. show we downloaded, or throw on a movie. our evenings are a lot more fun now.
but the biggest thing i've learned, which makes me think i don't ever need to have cable again is this:
in the end, i really didn't care about the shows i thought i loved
there were a few shows that i just had to watch every week. had to. no exceptions. i was seriously invested in the characters' lives and dramas and dear god if i missed an episode. when we cut the proverbial cord, the first couple of weeks were awful. i would devotedly find each episode i was missing, download and watch. and then i noticed a funny thing happening. i started allowing more time to pass between each new viewing. and then i stopped downloading and watching some shows altogether. turns out, i really didn't care all that much about them - it was simply a habit.
now, when i watch an episode of one of those shows, i am highly aware of their massive flaws. and i question why i liked them in the first place.
have you ever gone without t.v.? do you think you could? why or why not?