life without television
I am one of those people who watch a lot of movies and DVDs. And I am also one of those people who believe that life would be a lot better without television. Hypocritical I know. But I have always blamed television for distracting me, for preventing me from being as productive as I could be. Yes, I understand the concept of self-control, but I have never been one to possess any. However I decided last month that this needed to change, and so I gave up television for thirty days.
And it didn’t really make all that much difference. Yes, I’ll admit, I got quite a bit more writing and school-work done. But I also tired more quickly. After being productive for that long my brain was tired in a way that it never used to be when I gave myself time to just sit and watch my favourite shows.
I talked about it to one of the women at my work. She turned 73 this year, and is often telling me stories about what Canberra was like all those years ago. “What did you do when there was no television?” I asked her, expecting to hear: ‘oh we played board games, visited friends, went to dances etc.’…but instead she paused, thought for a bit and said, “we listened to the radio.”
This surprised me. I had been so prone to all these romanticisms about life before television that I had never considered that it may have been exactly the same. After she said that, I began to think of all of the novels I have read that were written in the 1800s. And how the characters in these novels tended to spend on inordinate amount of time at the theatre.
Maybe it is human nature to crave that easy entertainment. A way of resting while still interacting with the world. Because, as I also realised, I rarely watch anything by myself. It was always with family or friends, usually only giving the screen half our attention.
So I no longer think that television watching is detrimental…in moderation of course. It can be a wonderfully social activity, or it can be a way to relax after a long, tiring day. Limiting the amount of time spent in front of the screen is beneficial, as it gives you the opportunity to do more of the things that you enjoy. But, like everything, it is all about balance.
(Image credit: 1.)