Have you ever been in a relationship that just lost its spark and you knew it was over? That is how my 30 year relationship with television ended.
It began after I binged on USA’s Suits, which I stumbled upon through my Amazon Prime account. After watching the first three seasons in about a month, I couldn’t wait to start the fourth. But alas, the fourth season was not free to view as a Prime member, and so I had a decision to make: buy the next season or chuck the show.
Interestingly, I ended up doing both. I bought the first few episodes but for whatever reason I had simply stopped caring about the characters and what happened to them. This had also happened with Scandal and The Good Wife after only a few episodes of the current season, and like my experience with Suits, I went back to watching them only because I seemed to have nothing else to do and had once enjoyed watching them.
I spent the first day of my holiday vacation from all things university-related by picking up where I had left off in September, and, truth the told, I can’t even tell you what happened to who or why. I felt unsatisfied and bored, often playing on my phone instead of even watching what was on. After that first day on the couch, I started reading more, which lead to writing more, which lead to reading, writing, and making some significant(ly awesome) changes in my life. I started exercising regularly again, de-cluttering my entire house, and deciding how I wanted my life to look both now and in the future.
Since that first lazy, unfulfilling day, I have only watched television with my husband (we watch on average one episode of a show most weekday nights after baby girl goes to bed. Right now we are working our way through HBO’s The Wire). We may also watch a movie at home, but other than that, I stay away from passive screen time and commit myself to other things that are more productive and make me happier.
Truthfully, I feel less anxious because of the ways in which I now use what was my lounge time. I no longer feel as unfulfilled, insecure, or like I’m living my life in the wrong way. For example, I don’t feel like I’ll never be a kickass professional because I don’t have Olivia Pope’s wardrobe nor do I feel a constant conflicting need to both watch thin characters while I veg on the couch and yet still lose 50 pounds. I feel more “me” than I have in a long, long time, and the idea of checking out to waste time in from the tv is simply not appealing anymore.
I’m sure there will be more thoughtful, engaging shows like The Wire that Bill and I can watch after baby girl goes to bed, but, for now, I plan on using my spare time to read, write, and live the life that I have rather than watching the lives of others.