A few years ago, my television broke. As luck would have it, I was broke as well. I did not have the cash flow to replace my tv so I went without one for 8 months. The first week was difficult. I was anxious about missing my favorite shows and felt so out of the loop. After a few weeks however, the loop did not seem all that important. So I didn’t know the gossip for whatever the reality tv craze of the day was. So what? The more and more I lived without a tv, the less I cared about what I was supposedly missing that week.
I did discover Hulu and definitely watched a show here and there on my computer. But it was a different experience because I did not spend endless amounts of time in front of a box watching show after show. I used to have the tv on at all times just for background noise so this was a big change for me. Silence became wonderful and I longed for it when I returned home each day. My monthly electricity bill was lower. I started reading more books. I found so much appreciation for the process of reading and realized how personal the act of reading can be.
After 6 months, I wondered if I really needed or even wanted to bring another media box into my space. Would I have the self control to only watch a few shows here and there? I worried that I might fall into old habits and have senseless noise fill up my ears and hours of life. After 8 months with no tv, a friend was unloading a modest sized flat screen for super cheap. Although I did not feel 100% sure about it, I bought it. All of a sudden, there it was, a tv back in my space and my life.
My relationship with tv has dramatically changed though. I never have it on in the background and I have become extremely selective with what I watch. I DVR those shows so that I don’t have to sit through advertisements telling me which product or service I need right now in order to better my life. The tv no longer takes center stage in my down time but I allow myself the space to enjoy the shows I do watch and I don’t feel guilty about it. I commend those who have said goodbye to their televisions and I do miss not having one. I also know there will come a time when I will once again live without a tv. Its funny but I look forward to that day. My minimalist journey began after the super cheap second hand flat screen came into my life. I wonder, with the path I am on now, if I would have allowed this tv to share a space with me after an 8 month hiatus. Probably not.
But for now, I have a tv. For me, it’s really about being aware of why we watch so much tv as a culture. While I do engage in tv watching, I am aware of the downside of it. I am aware of the commercials that are trying to brainwash me into thinking that I am not enough. I am aware that it robs me of my time to be creative and connect with other human beings. I feel that my awareness keeps me balanced.
What say you?