Sunday, August 3, 2008

Challenge Two: Turning Off the TV

One tip that I found on a web site somewhere suggested turning off the tv to save some money. The rationale behind it was not only to save electricity, but also to avoid the consumerism that comes with commercials and product placement, which may lead viewers to go out and spend more money. Lord knows we all love a good commercial. I understand this argument, as a former student of journalism and media, but I’ll be honest, I love tv.

When I was younger, I babysat for a family that didn’t allow their children to watch tv during the week (not on school nights). They were allowed to watch tv starting Friday afternoon at 4 pm and could watch until Sunday before dinner. They were allowed to watch during the week when the Olympics were on. I think they watched every single sport. It’s quite patriotic, don’t you think? I can understand their parents rationale...they wanted their kids to do their homework, play outside and find other ways to entertain themselves. But I don’t know how the kids functioned, because my life definitely revolved around tv back then. Screw playing outside. Saved by the Bell after school, 90210 every week…I loved it…I still do.

I shouldn’t even say that I love tv, as much as I rely on it for both entertainment, but also noise. Since I currently live alone, my tv is on from the time that I get home from work until the time I go to bed. Even if I’m not sitting in front of it, it’s just on. Silence is still somewhat uncomfortable. I’ll listen from the kitchen as I make dinner and I time my getting ready in the morning to the commercials during The Today Show. Because I work irregular hours, I don’t always get to catch my favorite shows during primetime, but can always find something that I’m willing to watch. I get hooked pretty easily into cheesy reality tv.

I decided to explore this challenge, and vowed to keep the tv turned off for one week. Starting Monday morning (today) until next Sunday, I am not going to watch tv. I will find other ways to entertain myself, and will try to become comfortable with the silence.

You might think that it’s cheating to try and go without tv during the summer. It’s true that there are less “good” shows on, the weather is nice, and there is more in general going on. I’ll agree, it might be a little bit easier. I do think it will still be challenging for those times when I am in my apartment, because I can always find something to watch or listen to while doing other things.

I will follow the no tv thing, but I’m not going to be super strict about this challenge. For example, at the gym this morning, I did catch some of The Today Show on the tvs. However my purpose in being there was not to watch tv, but to work out, so I’m not counting that as a rule breaker.

We’ll see how this goes.


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