32: Goodbye TV

32: Goodbye TV

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less

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Goodbye TV

If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.

~Joey Adams

I am addicted to TV, mind-numbing, time-sucking, waste-of-a-good-day TV. I know some will say I should just be able to turn it off and ignore it, but it calls to me: Cindy… just come and spend a little time with me to wake up… watch the morning news… you have to know what’s going on in the world. An hour later, when I should be doing dishes or laundry or a million other things, I am intrigued by the promos and I have to watch the next show. Just a little, I tell myself, and another hour goes by.

Finally, I make myself turn it off and get busy with the chores of life. I make lists and check off items as I get them done: make beds, clean bathrooms, unload/load dishwasher, file papers, pay bills, etc. I work for an hour or two, and lo and behold, it’s time for lunch. Who wants to eat lunch alone? I turn on the TV for a little “company.” I watch some reruns of one of my favorites and enjoy my hour-long lunch break with my “friends.”

Then I decide to keep the TV on, “just for noise,” while I continue with my list of chores. I bring in laundry to fold, but end up watching TV and folding laundry only during commercials. I bring things into the living room so I can “listen” while I work, but once again, TV is too enticing and work is relegated to the commercials.

Suddenly, it’s time to make dinner. I still keep the TV on while I cook, because the five o’clock news has come on and I need to “stay informed.” My husband and I eat dinner while watching TV, because he, too, wants to “stay informed.” After a long day at work, he wants to watch a little TV and relax. Who am I to deny him this privilege? Naturally, I keep him company, because I haven’t seen him all day. The evening disappears in a few sitcoms and a “made-for-TV” movie. I even force myself to stay up and watch the last show, although I am clearly tired from such a strenuous day of TV watching. Being enlightened is so much work!

I calculate that the TV is on in our house for about fifteen hours a day! That’s 105 hours a week, 450 hours a month, 5,400 a year! Gone are the days of reading, sewing, painting, taking walks, or sitting on the swing in the garden talking to old friends on the phone. All are put off until the next commercial or the end of the show.

It’s time to take my life back. I’m taking the plunge and disconnecting from TV. Fortunately, my husband has agreed to this drastic measure. I have unhooked the cables, packed the equipment in the box, including the three remotes, and taped it up ready for shipping. No going back now.

Goodbye TV, I will miss you and all the good times we had together. A little tear comes to my eye. There will certainly be a big void in my life now that you are gone. Whatever will I do to fill it?

I think about the friends I have ignored and the things I loved to do and “never seemed to have time.…” Well, now I’ve got the time. Where to start? I think I’ll dig out my scrapbooking materials, turn on the radio, and put my time to a little better use. Where’s that book I’ve been meaning to read and when was the last time I spoke to my sister? Hmmm, so much to do, and so much time. I’d better get to it.

~Cindy O’Leary

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