De-cluttering Time

The physical clutter is not the only impairment to living a full life. I don’t know about you, but television has been part of my problem as well.

As a kid we usually had cable. My sister and I would fill the space between coming home from school and our mother’s arrival from work with television. About two hours. After dinner, Mom would want to watch some news shows or sitcoms, so that would add another three hours or so of television. Looking back, it is shocking to realize I spent nearly thirty hours a week watching television. It is a miracle that I ever rode a bicycle or found time to learn how to knit!

This is in no way a slam on my mother. Television is addicting. It is fast-paced and entertaining. Once you introduce it into your life, it can be very difficult to learn to slow down and live without it. But the television is actually slowing down every other opportunity to enjoy life.

In March of 2010, D and I attempted to reclaim our time. We cut the TV service because it was expensive and D was a student who would be more successful without the distraction. When I went back to school that fall, I was grateful to already have the space in my daily life for reading and studying. We were not completely without TV, however. We would occasionally find some shows and movies on the Internet.

In May of 2012 we both graduated and a friend gave me a subscription to Hulu to celebrate. The message was loud and clear, “You have more time on your hands. Fill it with TV!” And I did. I became addicted to a crime-drama and could watch two or three episodes of it a day. This amounted to up to two and a half hours of screen time a day, just watching shows. Before graduating, I had fantasized about all the books I would read for pleasure, but that didn’t really happen with my new addiction in the way.

Around November I decided the show was becoming way too violent. It presented rape, murder, mutilation, and other horrific topics the way you might ask someone to pass the salt. Each show was progressively more shocking and I found that I no longer wanted to know what happened next. I replaced watching that show with a reality show about weight loss, which was at least positive and encouraging, but it still sucked time out of my life faster than any illness or cluttered garage.

Last night it occurred to me that I am happier since I quit watching the crime drama eight months ago. My stress and anxiety have gone down. It cannot be coincidence! It also occurred to me that while the weight-loss reality show is not exactly poisonous, it does consume an hour and a half with each episode.

This morning, the subscription to Hulu was cancelled. This will mean more quality time with Rie, less clutter on my mind, and less exposure to advertisements to tempt me into buying stuff I don’t need. By cancelling the subscription, I am creating an environment where I can be successful with this maximized-life thing. In other words, I am making the conscience choice to be in charge of how my life is lived. It is a great feeling.

To top it all off, I found this blog post, 10 Reasons to Watch Less Television, while contemplating today’s subject. Enjoy!

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