Today I took my first small, maybe even baby step towards liberating myself from the television set. I downgraded from premium to basic cable. Maybe someday I’ll even be able to survive on limited cable alone, but for now, I’ve at least made a bit of progress. I relish learning that one of my (far too many) favorite series is nearing the summer hiatus. Last night as I was watching The Voice and fast forwarding through the performances I wasn’t crazy about, I nearly jumped for joy when I heard that the season finale is next week. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time limiting my television viewing. I feel better when I do more productive things, like read a book, bake some cookies, putter in mygarden. I do know that sometimes the escape from reality that the shows on television provide can be quite enjoyable and I like trying to anticipate what Don Draper is going to do next, whether Storybrooke will survive the Evil Queen’s wrath, whether my favorite contestant on the voice (Michelle Chamuel, btw) will advance to the next week and what Sheldon Cooper will say next! Sometimes, though, it gets to be too much. I know there were weeks this winter when we had shows on almost every night of the week. I try to be at least a little productive by using the television time to multitask and fill out entries for my mail in sweepstakes, but still it is time spent sitting on my butt, not interacting with people or nature. I have at the very least decided that if there is a show in the fall that I absolutely, positively HAVE to see, I have to give up one of the series that I’m watching now. It does seem like the networks give me a little help with this one, since it’s inevitable that once I start enjoying a show, the likelihood of it being cancelled increases.
According to this article by the NY Daily News (NY Daily News Article – American TV Watching), Americans spend nearly 34 hours a week watching TV. While I like to think I’m better than that, I think there are some weeks when I come pretty darned close to meeting that number. When I think of the things I could be doing instead of that, I feel ashamed, but apparently not enough to stop me from doing it. I am going to make a serious effort to start limiting my viewing to 2 hours a day or less. Already tonight, I’ll have almost the two hours in because I’m going to be watching the results show of The Voice and Sunday’s episode of Mad Men. Thankfully the DVR allows me to truncate it to less than two hours by fast forwarding through commercials. (God bless the person who invented that wonderful bit of technology!) I am thankful that both of those shows will soon be ending, so I will have time to enjoy the finer things in life, like:
- Reading Harry Potter to Aurora (We’re about halfway through Book 5!)
- Making my flowerbeds look beautiful by pulling the grass and weeds.
- Watering my flowerbeds, my vegetable garden and my lawn
- Reading from my own long list of books I’d like to finish (see my LONG list on Goodreads!)
- Listening to music on iTunes, Pandora or Spotify
- Cleaning the House (nah, that doesn’t count as one of the finer things!)
- Baking cookies
- Taking a walk around the neighborhood
- Seeing a movie (yes, technically still sitting on my butt, but with a big screen and popcorn) 😉
- Watching the birds at the bird feeders. (The adorable little yellow goldfinches are frequent visitors at the thistle seed bird feeder)
- Playing a board game with Aurora (Sorry and Payday are current favorites)
And the list goes on and on 🙂
What non-TV related activities do YOU enjoy?