I am a TV addict. I don’t have many other vices, but I love TV. I always have. I don’t apologize for it. It just is. I enjoy being entertained on the small screen – which btw, screens are not very small any longer. TV, and movies for that matter, have always been an escape for me. I tune in so I can tune out. When Ed passed away, I remember waiting for 6PM to roll around because I knew there would be The Real Housewives of pick-a-city to enjoy a glass of wine over. I could escape. Forget the day. Dismiss my grief. Get a little tipsy and escape the world I was trying to get through one minute at a time. There is nothing wrong with escaping or being enthralled in stories of other people. Books do much of the same thing, however, it takes brain power to read (which is good), but when one is exhausted from grief, their jobs, parenting – you name it, TV is much more passive requiring little energy. Energy that often times we don’t have to expend. Cozy couch in front of TV? Yes please.
About a month ago, I read a post on social media (another screen that now vies for our mind space and time) that said something about letting the world in first thing in the AM. I don’t remember the phrasing precisely, but the sentiment was don’t let other things into your world first thing in the AM. Why give someone else that time and mind space? This resonated for me because as long as I can remember, first thing in the AM when waking up, I’d turn on the TV. Check in with the news. What was happening in the city I live, and the world as we know it? Evan ss a kid, the morning schedule was dependent upon what was on the screen. If Ray Rainer was telling the weather report, we had about five minutes to get out to the bus stop.
After reading this quote on social media and giving it a moment or two to simmer, my mind completely shifted and said, “YYYYYYAAAASSSSS”! Why did I let the world come into my head first thing in the AM? Why should my thoughts be of fear and loathing the moment I woke up? And more importantly, this is something within my control. My mornings can and should be whatever I want them to be. Not owned by anyone else. Positive. Uplifting. Motivating vs. Negativity. Depressing. Uninspiring.
And so I didn’t turn on the TV that morning when I rolled over, and guess what? Nothing happened. The world was still turning, shit was still happening, and I went on with my day. I wish I could say I had some epiphany about this action, but much like this blog post, it was a BFD moment J. It was just more quiet. But it was one small step in changing a habit that has been built over a lifetime. And I still feel a little bit off when I don’t do flip on the tube first thing, but building a habit takes time. This one that I am now breaking was 50 years in the making right?
So today, I am starting to break another habit. While I don’t turn on the TV the moment I wake up any longer, I also realized that I do start my day with screens, which I am okay with. What I realize I am not okay with is how immersed I am in those screens, and more importantly, for how long in the AM I stay immersed in my multiple screens. It’s easy for me to continue my routine of turning on the TV, making a cup of coffee, hearing and reading the headlines, checking email, social media etc. (actually, writing this, I realize how much I am bombarding myself with information overload first thing in the AM).
Small steps are what changes a habit. I could go “cold turkey” and turn off everything, but I don’t want to, nor do I need to do so. But I did turn off the TV after one hour today. I usually leave it on as background noise during my morning routine of feeding the dogs, eating breakfast, continuing to check social media. It’s my morning and I can do with it what I want, right? But I don’t want to any longer. I want to use MY time in my headspace without others creeping in. I, like so many others, are exhausted by the constant barrage of media, headlines, critics, pundits and thrashing on screens. They are not there for my benefit, only my consumption by choice. I won’t let go of the Housewives, or any of my other “friends” on Bravo TV – arguable the greatest network ever created (shout out Andy Cohen J), but I will be more passive in my viewing habits. At least I can try, right?
An interesting thing happened when I turned off the TV….I wrote this from my beautiful patio with the sun shining and the breeze blowing…dogs by my side. Less noise, clearer thoughts even if they are a BFD, who cares moment 🙂
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