Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My TV-Free Rules

There's no one standing over my shoulder on this little experiment. This isn't Survivor. I'm pretty sure I won't get voted off the island if I don't do it right. So the rules may change as I go, depending on whether I'm meeting my primary goal, which is to introduce more variety to my life and fill up the time I normally spend on the couch watching the TV with other more fulfilling activities. My goal is not to eliminate entertainment from my life.

So here are my rules:

No Cable TV in my home. I'm canceling service, so it won't be an option.

No Netflix (watch instantly). If I watch Netflix, I'll get into watching all the shows I've never watched before and not reach my primary goal. Further, it's a gateway drug. Pretty soon I'll crave my usual shows. The next thing you know, I'll be calling up our provider and buying the biggest TV package I can find.

Movies in Moderation- Going to the movies or watching DVDs are acceptable in moderation. It's important to note that my husband and I don't currently go to the movies very often, and rarely watch our DVDs. (Sometimes, I'm not even certain why we have a DVD collection. All the movies we own we've seen before.) But, as long as it's a social activity - like dinner and a movie - I think it's okay. I wasn't counting movie trips and DVDs as part of the 30 hours a week I waste watching the TV. However, if I begin to substitute all my TV watching time with DVD's and movie tickets, then I'll have to eliminate this option, too. I'm not nixing TV so that I can find a new obsession.

No Internet Videos - I don't watch anything online now, so I see no reason to start. (Although a few years back, I did spend an entire weekend on Hulu catching up on The Office, so I know how dangerous it can be!)

Youtube in Moderation - If friends send me clips, or I'm reading the internet news and they refer to a video, I'll watch it. I'm not trying to cut myself off from the world. But if I find myself watching hours of youtube, I'll have to reconsider. I'm trying to find new ways to use my free time, not a new medium to do the same exact thing.

Additional "Rules"

I'm not going to get huffy if the TV is on at my parents' house or the homes of other family and friends. I won't be joining any Idol Watching parties - but if I'm visiting and they are watching TV, I'm not going to ask them to turn it off. Not only is that rude, but I'm not allergic to TV. I'm simply trying to eliminate all the time I spend at home in front of the TV. And I admit right now, I may go to my mom's house and watch some of the Summer Olympics with her. I'm not a robot.

Also, it's acceptable to go to a friend's house or a bar to watch a sports event. We don't do that often now, but again, if it's part of a social thing, it's acceptable. I'm not going to say no to a Superbowl watching party because I don't watch TV anymore. It's a special event and we see friends we don't often see during the year. If we start going to bars every night to fill the hole in our lives left by our DVR, I will have to refine this rule. Honestly, I'd rather take the money we're saving on cable and pay to GO to a sporting event. Or instead of watching the Tigers play baseball, find a softball league to play on myself!

As a final note on this topic, I want to interject that I don't think your TV watching is a bad thing. I don't view others as mindless couch potatoes. I just know what it does for me, which is prevent me from doing other things that might help me to grow as a person. I'm not in the business of judging - and one of my rules is not to mock others with this blog. You might be able to moderate your TV viewing. Simply put, I cannot.

My Next Blog - Why I'm waiting until May 27th.


  1. Not that I'm fiending already or anything, but I think we may want to allow the use of over-the-air TV - at least for news and weather and stuff. Just a thought... plus, it doesn't seem to violate your rules.