It was never supposed to go as far as it did. All I wanted was to watch a little TV while eating my lunch. Next thing I knew, I’d watched four hours of a bad reality show and dragged my fiancé down with me. It was the last day of vacation before going back to work in the New Year. We spent half of it in bed watching a whole season of a show whose name I can’t even remember now.
The next morning we went on a walk (work-from-home-couple perks!) and had the same conversation we’d had 100 times before: to keep or not to keep the television. We both enjoy watching TV, but agreed there were other ways we’d prefer to spend our time. Although, we’re the first to admit that flipping on the television at the end of a long day is very appealing.
The television had become a crutch for us. Rainy days, lazy Sundays, and pretty much every day involved more television time than we’d like to admit. A combination of guilt and a recent Marie Kondo Netflix binge session fueled us. We marched straight home and got rid of our television set. We have an electronic donation drop off in our apartment complex, so we had no excuse not to take action.
It’s been a month since that fateful day. Here are my thoughts on how ditching our television has affected our lives.
The First Day
I should start by telling you there were other reasons we wanted rid of our television. In short, it was an eyesore that was starting to break. The television was a hand-me-down that was very much appreciated when we first got it. Now it took 30 minutes to warm up the screen and was very large and bulky sitting on top of our dresser.
I cannot tell you how good it felt to remove that giant television from our bedroom. Neither me nor my fiancé believed in feng shui before, but we sure do now. We live in a 500 square foot, one-bedroom apartment. That television felt like a giant, dark presence looming over our bedroom. As soon as we removed it, the room felt lighter, brighter, and like there was better energy in the room.
This feeling of lightness and elation helped carry us through the first day. We felt pretty confident about how much better our lives would be. We spent the evening cooking and cleaning and even made a late night gym run. But when we were exhausted and there was nothing left to do at 9pm, we realized we kind of missed the TV. We like watching a show or movie before bed together, but that night we had to settle for YouTube. Our high was beginning to drop, but we hoped the adjustment period would be short lived.
The First Week
YouTube became a recurring theme over the next few days. Even though we had access to the same cable and movie services as before, we wanted to consume less content. We’d watch YouTube videos in 10-minute chunks, but weren’t watching two hours of Netflix like we would have before. We didn’t want to say goodbye to streaming forever, but needed to break some bad habits.
Even though it was an adjustment, the first week was pretty easy. We both had an extra pep in our step, and it was fun telling anyone who’d listen that we got rid of our TV. We used this energy to finish up projects around the house, run errands after work, and go to the gym together more.
Spending extra time cleaning every day was the first benefit of donating our television. When our place is clean we both find it easier to relax and enjoy ourselves, so that really was a great bonus. We also made it to bed a lot earlier now that we weren’t as tempted to watch “just one more episode.”
The First Month
Out of sight, out of mind. Of course, when it came time to watch some of our favorite programs or pick out a movie, we missed having a TV. Our Sunday night Outlander viewing was not the same on a small laptop screen.
Finding healthier ways to unwind at the end of the day was important to me. I’m happy to report that I’ve been spending a lot more time at the gym. I find working out gives me the time and space to clear my thoughts — even moreso than watching reruns of The Office ever did.
I do have to admit that some things didn’t change as much as I’d liked them to have. One of the main changes I foresaw was spending more time reading. I’m spending so much less time watching TV, but don’t seem to be reaching for my bookshelf any more than usual. In my defense, I doubled my workload as a freelancer, went on vacation, and planned a huge chunk of our wedding that month. But it goes to show that you can only point a finger at someone or something else for so long. Now that the television is gone, I can’t blame it for distracting me anymore.
Neither my fiancé nor I have any regrets about getting rid of our television. If one day we own a home with multiple rooms, we can keep one in our living room. But, I don’t think I’ll want one in the bedroom again. In the meantime, we’re still trying to decrease time spent online watching movies or shows. I’ve also been cutting way back on phone time thanks to Apple’s new “screen time” features.
I don’t want to wake up one day and feel like I let life and time slip through my fingers. Some people are passionate about cinema or great television series, but we don’t feel that way. We’re both more fulfilled when we spend time outside, are active, and read. As we’re both happy with our current television-free lives, I don’t think we’ll have regrets anytime soon.