If you would have told me six years ago that I would be living completely without a television, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was just starting college in the US after living overseas for a few years. Free cable in the dorms + American reality show = addictions to Survivor, The Bachelor, American Idol and every reality show on TV. It was out of control.
If you would have told me two years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I loved What Not to Wear, Top Chef, Monk, Project Runway, 10 Years Younger, Shear Genius and whatever else
I got sucked into came on in the evenings while I was unwinding from work. It was glorious.
Our first little apartment: the cable was free and the times were good.
We moved from the apartment after a year. At the new place, we refused to pay for cable and ended up watching much less television. (Our reception sort of sucked, as did our TV. Mike spent the entire vice presidential debates with his foot pressed against the TV, as that was the only way to stop the snow and screeching. So odd.) We watched network shows most evenings, I watched The Tyra Show (no judging) when I came home from lunch and The View when I had the day off.
Sure, we could have paid forty bucks a month for cable, but our reasoning was: why pay for something that we don’t want to spend our time doing?
Then, as we got ready to move to our duplex this summer…our little analog TV was obviously ready for television hospice. The screeching, the snow, the cutting out – it was happening more and more often. So, we got rid of it and didn’t replace it. I’d be lying if I said it was my decision – I definitely wouldn’t mind some mindless television every now and then. Even in my joking with Mike about getting a new TV or cable, I know that I’m not my happiest when I spend a few hours watching television shows. In fact, it sort of makes me angry with myself for wasting time.
What we do instead:
- Watch our favorite shows online – just a few of them. And I find that if it’s more inconvenient to watch a show, there are less shows I’ll spend my time watching. And I’m okay with that.
- Record Project Runway on my parents' DVR and watch several episodes each time I go down. (I watch them with my little sister, so it doubles as happy bonding time.)
- The library is our best friend. We can watch new (to us) TV shows on DVD without spending time with commercials or getting sucked into another show. We started watching Big Love, Ugly Betty, How I Met Your Mother, and Gilmore Girls because of the library.
- Treat ourselves to a movie at a theater every now and then.
- Craft, cook, clean, exercise and hang out. Honestly, I think part of the reason I had the time to start my Etsy shop last year was due to not having cable anymore. Which is pretty crazy and sort of sad.
- I am happier with myself and how I spend my time.
- More free time. I am already pretty busy as it is – do I really want to spend 3 hours tonight getting sucked into Bravo reality shows? Instead, I can watch just one episode on DVD and spend the rest of my evening getting my life together. (My life needs all the help it can get. I am a hot mess.)
- Saving money. Always a good idea.
- Mike is happier – he’s a simplify-your-life sort of guy and this makes him feel like he’s being who he wants to be. And making Mike happy? Is sort of awesome.
- Getting my news via the internet and public radio makes me happy. And doesn't contribute to the crazy culture the 24-hour-cable news channels cultivate. (Woah there, unintentional alliteration.) Which is also awesome.