Guest post from Valerie of Our Healthy Foodie Life
Six months ago, my husband and I sold our only TV!
Being glued to the TV night after night became a regular occurrence in our household. At some level, it was comforting to get cozy on the couch after work and forget about all of the day’s problems. But at the same time, the anxiety caused by the constant realization that we were missing out on more fulfilling activities was too much to handle.
So finally we cut off the source of our unsettled feelings: we sold our TV and our gaming system.
Some (actually, most) people thought that selling our TV was crazy. I’ll be the first person to agree that, yes, this was a radical move for the norms of our culture. But after having long conversations about the subject, my husband and I found it even more crazy to spend evening after evening immersed in electronics rather than enjoying life.
We spent part of this spring, the entire summer, and a portion of the fall without our own TV. If we wanted to watch our favorite shows, we had to watch them on our computer, or watch someone else’s TV.
The emptiness created from having no TV was scary at first, but ultimately became freeing.
Here are three things we learned during our six months with no TV:
1. TV is (mostly) a waste of time
After giving up our TV, my husband and I had an incredible amount of free time for activities other than watching TV.
And do you know what we did? A lot! We read books outside on our porch, spent time with friends, went on bike rides, volunteered, read extra Bible devotionals, walked our dogs, started a garden, etc.
I think you get the idea by now: eliminating TV gave us so much in return.
2. Intentional TV watching is a wonderful gift
I wrote point #1 with a focus on unintentional TV watching. What does that mean? We’ve all been there before: turning the TV on as background entertainment, binge watching the latest show we discovered, or re-watching episodes of a favorite show.
During our six months without an actual TV, we did get to watch our favorite shows on our computer. However, watching TV on a computer is less enjoyable and is far less convenient. When we wanted to watch TV, it was something we truly wanted to watch.
Being intentional about our TV consumption allowed us to enjoy shows and movies, but it didn’t drain our free time.
3. There’s so much more to do in life than sit inside
The main lesson that we learned from this experience is that there is so much more to do in life than watch TV. This statement also applies to excess time spent on gaming, social media, tablets, and similar digital activities.
When we stay in the house glued to our digital devices, we lose out big time on the other wonderful activities in which we could participate. We also lose out on real, face-to-face conversations with one another.
If you take away one thing from our experience, this point is probably the most important: get outside, learn that hobby you’ve always wanted to learn, invite friends over for a night outside to catch up with each other face-to-face, volunteer, or start on that exercise goal you’ve thought about for months. Step away from your TV and your other digital devices, and enjoy the life that is happening right in front of you.
In doing so, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to feel more relaxed, fulfilled, and build new, healthy habits. We love the healthier perspective we have on using technology in moderation, and we are incredibly thankful for having completed our “no TV” experiment.
Valerie lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and two dogs. She is the creator and writer of the blog Our Healthy Foodie Life.