Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Giving Up TV

Although I have not made a Lenten sacrifice in *years*, I have decided this year to give up TV for Lent.

I never used to watch much TV--being naturally active I never seemed to have time to sit down and watch something, and I never found anything very interesting on. Once I was in college and learned to knit, I began to turn on the TV for company while I knitted, since I couldn't read. Pretty soon, it seemed, this blossomed into a full on TV addiction.

Every day I would come home from work and flop down in front of the TV. Usually I would munch on some sort of snack, and pretty soon that was a habit, too. Eventually it became a viscious cycle--the more I watched and snacked, the more sluggish I felt, so I was less inclined to get up and do anything else.

The year I did not work I structured my entire day around the TV programs that were on. Sew during People's Court and Judge Mathis, lunch during Montel Williams, knit during Moral Court, People's Court, and Judge Mathis....and then sometimes into whatever shows were on afterward. I found myself telling time by the TV. The mail came during the first episode of People's Court. Mom called during Moral Court, halfway through. Again, viscious cycle began. Whenever I actually had something else to do, I felt anxious and disorganized away from the set pattern of my TV shows. I *enjoyed* going out and doing something, but it felt odd, like it was out of schedule.

Personal disclosure time--when I got married I was a size 6. By my first anniversary, I was a size 10. Now I am a size 12. I realized that this problem started when I started to watch so much TV.

The last few months are probably the height of my TV watching problem. When I found that my husband came home and didn't want to ask how my day was until commercial break--I didn't like that. I felt achy and sore from sitting on my butt watching so much TV. And I felt weak and tired from lack of activity, which again led to even less activity.

And so this year, I have decided to give up TV for Lent. No more People's Court. No more Judge Mathis. No more South Park. No more Simpsons. And I am hoping that even after Easter, I can keep up this promise to myself. I hope that I can watch an ocassional episode of a program without becoming obsessed with arranging my schedule in order to watch every day.

I am not giving up on movies. In order to watch a movie, I have to decide that I want to watch it, locate it, and put it in. I am not bound by time constraints (when the program comes on) so I can watch at my leisure. If I am not enjoying a movie I have no problem turning it off. TV shows seem engineered so that you keep watching even if you don't want to. Watching a movie, for me, is an intentional act, rather than a reflexive response. And I'm hoping as a side effect I am going to enjoy a lot more interesting movies.

Even though it's not Lent yet, I have begun my TV boycott. I haven't watched it in (almost) an entire week. Each weekend we have been going to the library to get more books, and I'm paying more attention to neglected knitting projects and the like. Yesterday I sat next to my parakeet cage and the birds came up to the bars and visited with me while I knitted. And I am not missing the TV at all. Not even a little bit. I am enjoying the things I was missing far, far more!!!