I never noticed television affecting me until this year.
Like many people, I do love a good TV series—it’s like a movie that never ends! I’ve never been much of a television junkie, but every now and then I happen upon a series that I love and get hooked. I held off on getting a Netflix account for years, but once I finished the free-month subscription back in July, I thought, What’s the harm in a few months more? And for only $8.00 a month? Worth it! Many evenings, it became my calm-down method…my time to veg. This was fine until I found myself getting drawn in to the storyline of episode after episode instead of capping it and getting stuff done that needed to happen. Throughout college, and now, post-college, I’ve watched many of my friends go through this too—shows and shows and shows of Friends, Arrested Development, and all the rest.
With Breaking Bad on the rise, New Girl breezing into its third season, and all the talk about Game of Thrones, I can’t help but think about the hours and hours of time that I and many others have spent parked on the couch in front of the TV or lying in bed with the iPad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my shows, and I have nothing against a night in with a glass of wine and a marathon of my favorite program. They are also a welcome distraction when I have to do something boring like fold laundry, clean the kitchen, etc.
I’d say, it’s more so something people need to start being really aware of. If you start feeling like you have a ball and chain around your ankle and that your first and only option when you get home from work or class is to lie down and watch TV, there might be something going on there. If you start to feel like you have a film over your mind or things feel cloudy or dull, consider not watching NCIS tonight. Make sure you’re balanced. I just don’t want to go out with Susie and Joe tonight. I’d rather stay in and watch How I Met Your Mother. Yeah ok, that’s absolutely valid sometimes. But if television is taking the place of people, exercise, your favorite hobbies, time with God, or whatever else in life, take a break. There’s always Hulu and Netflix—you can watch episodes at any point from anywhere these days!
I don’t think anyone needs to give up TV entirely (well, unless you feel convicted to)—it’s a creative expression of life that has the power to rest us, positively or negatively impact us, give us ideas, and bring joy. But if it becomes all-consuming, if it’s affecting you negatively and starts to steadily become your reality, it can start to take the shade of addiction and can really interfere with your daily life.
So what I’m saying is…have boundaries.
Watch a little, but then go outside. Run with your dog. Write poems in the woods. Grab that drink with your friend. Play basketball or redecorate your room. Cook a big, beautiful, complicated dinner. Actually take the nap instead of getting sucked in to Episode 32 of Criminal Minds.
Doesn’t that sound fresh and wonderful? There’s a whole life to live that doesn’t exist within a screen, and sometimes you just have to go out and get it. Yeah, it takes effort. But I promise you, it will be worth it in the long run.
Photo by: 24.Media.Tumblr