Glued to the Television

It’s that time of year again when all of our returning shows are back with new episodes, and we now have new shows to try out.  Every year we wait with bated breath to see where our favorites left off and how they will resolve whatever issue they had in their finale.


We are glued to the television and planted firmly on our couch.  Some even plan their life around these shows and what does that tell you?  Are we addicted to these shows or are we using these shows to fill a void in our empty lives?


Back as a kid, I was somewhat energetic – okay a little energetic if we need to be specific.  After a long day at school and then coming home to do my homework, I used the remaining free time to watch television.  I had friends and we would get together mainly on the weekend, but during the week television became a good substitute for my friends.


In college I was busier.  I now had other things to attend to such as writing term papers, going to lectures/classes, more homework, work (to pay for college) and socializing.  Yes, I still watched television, but the focus was now placed elsewhere.  I had a life to maintain and I had to utilize time management in order to maintain it.  Besides, one cannot find a guy by ogling the men on television.  By the way back then the men on television were not as fit as they are today.  Yes, there was some eye candy, but not enough to keep me glued to the TV.


As I began my work career, I started to slow down some in the activity department.  I worked many jobs throughout my career that required overtime.  Since my pay was not the best, I had to grab whatever overtime opportunities I could in order to financially survive.  I was living the American dream of wanting everything and having to work like heck to get those items.  The more overtime I got, the more stressed out I became.  I had to vent and I chose two things (rather three) to get me through this.  One, I had to eat, but I made bad choices in this department.  I worked so many hours that when I came home I was too tired to make supper.  I would set my purse down and make a call.  I chose to order out and that eventually led me down a very dangerous path with food (but that is a story for another time).  Next, I was too tired to go out and socialize (maybe some on the weekend if any time was available) so I sat my butt down on the couch and watched whatever was on television.  My third choice was becoming sedentary.  I never said I made wise choices or that I wasn’t weak.  I had plenty of time or at least I could have found the time to go to the gym and exercise.  I just decided not to.


Soon I was becoming obsessed with all of these shows and I started to schedule my life around them.  I watched Beverly Hills 90210, Thirtysomething, and China Beach at first.  Through the years I added more shows (too many to count), so just in the nick of time, the VCR became an important piece of equipment to purchase.  I now had a chance to tape shows in order to be able to keep up with whatever was going on.  However, I had to find more time just to watch what I taped.  Exhaustingly, I did.  I was becoming more reclusive in my personal life from this.  I found the energy to go to work, but my mind was centered around these shows on my free time.


Next came the DVR and I could now record multiple shows at one time.  This was not getting any better.  It was getting worse.  I now had multiple shows to watch (not to mention to record) on every night of the week.  My conversations revolved around these shows.  I had to know who was with whom on Grey’s Anatomy, how that guy committed that crime on CSI (CSI Miami and CSI New York as well), will Ted ever find her on How I Met Your Mother (I still watch this one only because I know this is their final year), I had enough of the Red John storyline on the Mentalist, and still managed to pick up a few new shows.  This was getting out of control.  I no longer spontaneously conversed unscripted and inquiring about the welfare of others, but more pointedly scripted around these shows and what others thought about these shows.


I would like to think it was just me going crazy with all of this, but the more I talked with others, the more I found out it was happening everywhere.  Pretty scary huh?  You bet it is!  I decided to change this pattern and get back onto a stronger and more fulfilling path.


I thought about it before I made my move (and I still caught a few new episodes in the process).  I decided to finish out the season (how big of me!), but I would record the shows and watch them on a set day and time in order to be more productive in my life.  Now I know that I need to make more adjustments to this line of reasoning, but I am taking baby steps since I tend to move slowly anyway and I tend to fall quite a bit.


Eventually I will whittle down to practically nothing to watch and get on with what is more important in life.  I was susceptible because I had no one in my life – no family nearby to visit and no children of my own.  I filled the pangs of loneliness with television and food.  I should have sought other means that would have been more fulfilling.  Shows end or are canceled.  They are over once the television is shut off.  They can bring out emotions that you haven’t thought about or felt for a long time, but they can never (or rather they should never) take the place of a fellow human being.  We need human contact – we actually crave it and sometimes we squelch that desire for such.


I’m not saying never watch television.  I am saying find out what is important to you.  Do you want to pigeonhole yourself into a corner and live in isolation or do you want to get out there and see what the world offers instead?  I used television to make up for my refusing to take a risk.  I refused to get out there and meet people.  I clung to shortcomings that kept me there and I refused to find a way out from this stronghold over me.  We are so addicted nowadays we watch shows no longer just on television, but rather on our phones and laptops as well.  It really can become a vicious cycle if we do not rein it in.


Watch or do not watch, but decide for yourself and for what you feel will give you the most satisfaction.  I wasted a lot of time and missed out on some great opportunities to see family, make new friends, and become a contributor to my community.  When my ending comes, I will not be remembered for the shows I watched, but rather for what I did or did not do for others.  I may have a day, or years (I don’t know), but I want this time now to represent who I am and not who I was afraid to be.  I still have my television and from time to time I will turn it on, but instead I want to get out there and see the real world not the scripted version.  I want to cherish the memories of loved ones and friends and others.  I do not want to remember shows that I relied on to pass the time.

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