Trying: A year without TV

Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Narcos, The League. I spent an entire month, January of 2016, doing absolutely nothing other than watching GOT. From reruns of SportsCenter as a kid, to whatever reality garbage was airing on MTV. The Bachelor in the evenings. Gold Rush on Friday nights. The Cowboys on Sundays. Saturdays were reserved for watching UT. In the summer, I’d watch baseball, about 100 games a season. I’d plan afternoons, days, even weekends around that screen.“We can’t go tomorrow; the game is on at noon.” “We have to be back before the show starts. Can we meet another time?”. Throughout my childhood, adolescence, as a teen. Through college, and the first year after, my life was dictated by TV.

And it’s just occurred to me, as I sit here in my empty employee housing living room. I’m on month 14 without a TV. This isn’t a post to say I’m better than you, or to talk about how much I read (not nearly enough). My goal isn’t to make you feel bad, but I have to say, there is a direct correlation with the satisfaction I’ve felt in life, and my time spent away from the screen.

It’s not that I’m constantly productive, because that just isn’t true. So, what’s changed, you say? Well for starters, I’m now free to take advantage of opportunity. If someone asks me to go for a hike, or to hit the slopes, I don’t think twice about some program or game. These days, I’m always available to go experience things.

What else, you ask? In my humble opinion, my life is a hell of a lot more interesting. Television is an escape. It’s a way to get away from reality. So, what happens when you give up the thing? Well, when I first took the plunge, I did a whole lot of nothing. Honestly, instead of reading or writing, or doing something else productive, when I first moved into Keystone employee housing, I spent a lot of time just sitting in silence and thinking. Was it healthy? I think so. Time to think is underrated. And it does get old. Which is around about the time I started doing things.

When I moved to Korea in February of ’18, I had my own tiny studio apartment with a small flat screen. For the first few weeks I didn’t even bother to turn it on. And it wasn’t until I really started feeling lonely that I began watching again. Returning to the screen only made it worse. It signaled the end.

In Alaska, not only did I not have TV, I didn’t have cell service either. After returning from Korea, I didn’t feel like setting up a plan. How’d I fill my time? I read, but not a ton. I hiked, but not enough. I worked, but only about 30 hours a week. And with the other endless hours of sun, I conversed. I met people. I routinely had in depth conversations. I stopped asking people “what’s up” and started discussing with them why they felt down. I got to know people. I became exposed to things. I set a goal. I started writing, every day.

After Alaska, I spend 6 weeks in Europe. Again, without service on my phone. The French families I stayed with didn’t watch TV, it was really refreshing. A lifetime living room diner, I learned to sit at the table and appreciate food. On nice days, we’d haul the table out into the lawn to dine and laugh in the sun.

45 days on the road concluded with ten at home. During which, I didn’t watch a single thing. I thought maybe it’d be nice to relax one day, but I had far too much writing to do. When it came time to leave for another season in Colorado, I considered loading my massive 4k TV into the backseat, but I thought better of it. I don’t need the thing. So, I’m placing it for sale. It’s a 55" LG with smart features. If anyone’s interested, message me.