Fine Tuning the TV Habit

When I wrote the blog post “Deleting without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt” a little over a year ago, little did I know that I was on the cusp of a serious change when it came to my TV habits.

In that blog post, I shared the guilt I felt in deleting programs my PVR had recorded but that I did not even watch. Scandalous… I know!

But in doing so, I was (sort of) following traditional rules of de-cluttering: if it’s been sitting there for a certain length of time and I haven’t watched it, will I ever get back to it? When I was really honest with myself, the answer was pretty clear.

When the new shows rolled out in the fall months of 2016, I gave several programs a chance, but I was getting a little more ruthless in my programming choices. I set a boundary: if after 2-3 episodes I wasn’t really loving the show, why was I still watching? Sadly, only a few survived and remain on my list today. Funny enough, “Designated Survivor” is one of them. (Is art imitating my TV life?)

I hate to admit that using that same rationale, even some shows I enjoyed in recent years have dropped off my must-see list. What happened to the kid who used to push up the national average for TV watching?

You could say that without really thinking about it, I wasn’t watching TV out of habit anymore, I was watching TV with more of a purpose.

Once the bar was raised, the available space on my PVR started increasing… and increasing. And in doing so, not only had I freed up space on my PVR, but time was freeing up in my life as well for things that mattered more. It was a seismic shift.

I started looking at some other rituals, like the 6:00 news, a habit that had been entrenched in my life since the days when we had a black and white TV set and only 3 channels. Today, I already get the headlines from trusty news sources online. I also get them on the radio on my commute to and from work. When I started noticing that I was hearing the same news items 3 times in a day, I cut the 6:00 news routine, which freed up even more time.

Would you believe I feel a bit lighter spiritually as well in moderating my consumption of news?

While I don’t have immediate plans for cutting the cord from my cable company, my reliance on traditional television programming is changing.

I can’t remember the last time I sat down, picked up the remote and just channel surfed, looking for something to watch as I used to do, not that long ago. My auditions of new shows are often at the suggestion of friends, family and colleagues who know what I like to watch.

When I feel I need to watch something uplifting or comforting, I tend to gravitate to a sure thing: some favourite DVDs that I know will be exactly what I am looking for in the moment. If I need to laugh out loud, I have “The Nanny” and “Will and Grace”. If I want soapy drama, I have “Dallas” and “Downton Abbey“. If I want something comforting and relaxing, I have “The Golden Girls” and “Bewitched”. If I want something energizing, I turn to classic game shows like “The Price is Right” and “Match Game”. With all of the above, I have no reservations about playing them over and over, as needed. I consider them Comfort TV on demand.

Also, with the time freed up, I have been checking out classic movies I never saw, or haven’t seen in decades but keep meaning to get back to them.

With writing projects waiting in queue, a stack of books waiting to be read, an active cat looking for attention, renewed fitness goals, the never ending to-do list and barbecue season just around the corner, I can’t feel guilty for tuning out shows that weren’t that important to me in the first place. It’s just TV.

Where TV was once a needed distraction after a hard day’s work, I seem to be successfully finding time for other things and still achieving the same result.

While I still appreciate the hard work and creative effort that goes into producing TV shows, it’s just a question of prioritizing and making special time for the ones I really love.

… and doing so without a self-inflicted guilt trip.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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1 Comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, TV

One response to “Fine Tuning the TV Habit

  1. Pingback: Did You Miss Any of These Posts? (Spring 2017) | It's the Journey

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