I stopped watching TV.
I’m not saying that to sound like an asshole. Or to pretend like I’m a more amazing version of a human being. I’m clearly not. I just don’t watch TV. And I’m here to tell you why.
What do I mean when I say I don’t “watch TV”?
It means I don’t know where the remote for the TV is. Or the remote for the cable box. Or to turn on the speakers. That I’ve lived for years without turning on a television. I’ve lived in 10 apartments or houses in 4 different countries and they either didn’t have a television or I didn’t use the television.
I do not turn on the TV to watch shows. At all.
If something is made for television, it’s likely not made for me.
I know, weirdo central but hear me out. If you see a post on this blog about the best TV shows or anime to watch, that will be my Sibling, sharing his knowledge with the world.
I’m the book kid. And I’m ok with that.
I do however watch football.
#GloryGloryManUnited. All the Manchester United football. And the Jamaican and Italian national football teams.
And athletics. I love track and field events. Pretty much all sports.
If something is live, or a recorded sporting event showed on TV, that’s what I’ll watch.
Why I Stopped Watching TV
There was a time when I watched a ton of television. All the TV, all the time. And it was fine. Relaxing even. I have no problem with televisions and as far as I know, televisions have no problem with me.
I stopped watching TV however because I watched entirely TOO MUCH TV.
One Saturday evening in 2006, while at University, I remember watching television. These were the good times when cable channels were abundant and scrolling provided an endless supply of new content, fresh to my living room couch.
I remember watching HGTV and Fine Living, two televisions channels I adored. Except, they didn’t have a full 24 hours of programming. They would show 6 or 7 shows over and over for a few days before they had new content.
So, I sat down in front of the television, on my couch, and scrolled through the channels.
I would stop and watch a TV show for an hour or 2. But then the show would end and I would scroll.
At some point in time, during the dead of night, I realized that I had watched every single television show that remotely interested me on TV.
Everything on Fine Living.
Everything on HGTV.
Everything on Starz.
Everything on HBO.
All the cartoons.
Everything on Cinemax. Including the After Dark™ stuff.
All the infomercials.
I had no more TV left to watch. But I was still scrolling through the channels. And I didn’t seem to be able to stop myself.
I remember doing that for about 6 hours in the dark. 6 hours of my life were used to scroll through television stations. That I did not own. That were not making me money.
I felt addicted to television.
I was addicted to television.
It was the terror of addiction that made me realize that I needed to change.
I am the kind of person that can become addicted and obsessed. It’s great if I need to work at a task for hours and hours. It is fun and interesting for me to go down the rabbit hole of information.
The television shows I was watching, however, weren’t providing me with great amounts of value. There was nothing in them that was helping me at all. And so, it stopped being a fun past-time and started to become something to eliminate.
So I did.
I stopped watching cold turkey. Why? Because I’m not a half-ass kinda woman.
I prefer to whole-ass things.
And I knew that if I tried to slowly reduce my TV time, I would go right back to the place that terrified me.
So, I made it a challenge to watch no TV for as long as I could. Personal challenges motivate me. And this is now year 11 of that challenge.
This is now year 11 of that challenge.
3 Benefits of Not Watching TV
I’m not here to convince you to stop watching TV. If you want to waste time, you’ll waste time. Humans are incredible at achieving any goal they set for themselves. I can waste time by staring at a ceiling. I believe you can beat that easily.
These are just some of the benefits I have experienced by deciding to free up more time-wasting space by cutting out television. And the benefits of not watching television make each of these things worth it to me.
There was a whole universe of time I discovered when I stopped watching TV. Time to hang out with my family. Time to see my friends. Time to learn to cook an interesting dish. Time to think.
And TIME TO STUDY.
Because I was a student. And it seems that opening a book in front of the television is not the best strategy for me to learn complex material. Duh.
TV time is consumption time for me, not time I can use to create anything.
I want to be honest with you. I sleep too much to both write this blog AND watch TV.
My laziness needs the best possible conditions to produce anything. And I’ve learned that the best possible conditions don’t include TV.
3. Choosing My Content
I watch a ton of YouTube. A ton.
Yes, someone out there could legitimately call me out for switching TV for YouTube but to me, they are nowhere near the same.
I choose who I watch on YouTube.
I choose what I consume.
Part of the struggle with TV was that my life had to revolve around TV schedules instead of TV fitting into my life. YouTube solved that.
So, when I watch Gary Vaynerchuk discuss the “Winners Mindset” , Seth Godin discussing learning to fail until you succeed or Marie Forleo interviewing Mark Manson and telling me to stop caring about things that don’t matter I am choosing the content I consume, and choosing content that is beneficial to me.
And by beneficial, I mean watching Jerusha Couture unbox Chanel handbags and Ms. Jackie deciding the makeup trends we will not follow in 2017. All of this is ABSOLUTELY beneficial.
And I get to choose what and when.
3 Downsides of Not Watching TV
There are downsides. There is no point in me pretending that this life is going to get you to heaven.
1. I Don’t Get My Friend’s References
I’m constantly grateful my family and friends love me.
They love me because they have to tell a TV reference joke in “Jodi Mode”.
It goes something like this:
- You tell the joke.
- I look puzzled.
- You explain the show, the people, the back story, and the reason the character said or did the thing that is supposed to be funny.
- THEN you explain how it relates to the thing we were discussing.
I don’t suppose doing this is fun for my friends but they’re all still here so…
2. It’s A Competition To Make Me Watch Their Favourite Show
All around the world (ok, maybe not the world, maybe it’s just 5 people but still) people feel compelled to let me know that if I watched their favorite TV show, I’d love it and start watching tv again.
And these people think of it as a competition to make me watch TV so I can fall in love with their show. The best show. EVER.
My eyeballs have turned into a competition for my friends and family.
3. I am a weirdo
I don’t even need to tell people I don’t watch TV at this point. My family and friends take up that mantle themselves.
Random Person: “Oh Yoo, have you watched…”
My Best Friend: “SHE DOESN’T WATCH TV! HAHAHAHA!”
Random Person: “Oh. Weirdo”
You honestly just have to learn to live with it. Or you could do something truly weird. Like tattoo your eyeballs. Just saying.
Like tattoo your eyeballs. Just saying.
What I Do Instead of Watching TV
I don’t do them all the time. That would be very ambitious and let me be honest with you.
Sometimes, I just want to sleep.
But, when I’m awake, the freedom from TV allows me to do all sorts of interesting things like:
– If you know me, you know how super important that is. I’m grumpy and angry when I need to sleep and I can’t. Sleep is more important to me than you know.
- Finish law school and take part in a ton of extracurricular activities.
– I met amazing people who did all three. I’m less amazing. I’ve come to grips with that. I need to cut things out of my life to achieve anything of note.
Read amazing books from amazing authors.
– There are SO MANY posts coming about the books and authors I love. But people like Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changelings Series and Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” easily come to mind.
– This blog, learning to write it, and taking the 6 online courses I’m doing right now to be decent at it, all come from my “TV time”.
- Do yoga
– I practiced yoga. On a beach. In Barbados. It sucked up all my early morning TV time. And it left me so much happier.
- Play with my dogs
– My dogs are the most awesome dogs on the planet. #Fact. They love me so much that they make it clear that they miss me when I don’t play with them and rub them down. So, I make time for that.
- Visit my Grandma
– Isn’t it strange that there are all sorts of important things you need to do in life that just cannot be done? Visiting Grandma was never as urgent as watching a TV show starting in 20 minutes. So, I didn’t visit her as much as I planned. Well, she’s getting older so I’ve gotta make time for the important things. For me, that’s what my free time has been used to do. Visit my Grandma.
– My current obsession in life isn’t hardcore minimalism. Each of my 8 million handbags makes me happy. But taking a look at all the other things in my life that no longer serve a purpose and finding a better home for them takes time. It’s much more emotional work than I think people recognize. And I use my TV-less time to do that.
Run 5K races
– The NHS Couch to 5K website and app helped create this excited 5K runner. I’m so grateful to have had the time to train.
- Find ways to make more money
– My friends and I are in the acquisition mode of our lives. We’ve spent a ton of money going to school and sponging off our parents. It’s time to make some money. Turning off the television and focusing on ways to grow our money like photography and investments have really been paying off (for them anyway).
When I stopped watching TV, it changed my life. Experiment to see if you need TV as much as TV needs you.