I gave up TV 6 months ago. At first, I loved how much extra time I had, even though I didn’t think I watched much TV to start with. Productivity was at an all-time high. But I’m not capable of constantly doing stuff. Sometimes I do just want to sit down in front of the telly and switch off. It started as just watching half-hour box sets when I was eating. Then I moved onto full-blown films, but I’d pause them when I’d finished my meal. Then I started watching entire films. Anytime. Whether I was eating or not. Suddenly all that time I’d gained had disappeared again. So this week, I claimed it back!
I have been tempted to watch a DVD or watch something on catch up, especially as The Undateables, one of the most lovely programmes ever, is on. But I haven’t and instead I’ve spent time doing an online course, or tidying up, or playing the keyboard. But what about those times when you want to do nothing, and TV seems to be able to fill that criteria? How about a bit of mindfulness meditation, where you sit and concentrate on your breathing. Let the thoughts come, but then let them pass again, as if they’ve come in on the tide and are now going back out to sea. Obviously if there’s a programme you love then watch it, but be careful not to fall into the trap of just watching anything because you can. Maybe next time you go to switch the TV on, try doing something more productive instead and see if you miss it. Maybe one night a week without telly would benefit everyone? Have a family games night instead, or a night looking through old photos.
While we’re on the subject of TV, let me have a rant about the TV licence. I completely agree that, if I’m not paying for the licence, I shouldn’t be able to watch BBC channels. I’m happy with that. But what I disagree with is the fact that I can’t watch any ‘live’ TV (as it’s being shown on telly). Those other channels aren’t getting anything from the TV licence fee, so why can’t I watch them? How did the BBC get such utter control that it can tell you you can’t watch channels it has nothing to do with? It doesn’t seem right.
I’m sure I’ll gradually move back to watching films just for the sake of it – films I’ve seen a million times before anyway – but I’m glad I had a break. I want to start using TV as a last resort though – when I’ve really got nothing else I could be doing – rather than it being the first thing I go to.