Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Decision I Ever Made

(Now that's a bold title. I want to make sure you are not thinking I'm going to pit other wonderful decisions in my life---my decision to marry my wonderful husband, or my decision to finish my master's degree before I had kids, or my decision to have my wonderful bambinos, or, mercy, my decision to follow Christ, for example---against this small decision. But this has proved to be a small, but an excellent decision for my life, and I want to share it with you.)

I am often asked, "How in the world do you have time to read SO many books?"

I have an easy answer: "I do not watch tv."

I gave up watching tv in 2003.

This is the decision that has changed my life.


(1) It is as if I have an extra four and a half hours a day (Yes, that is the AVERAGE time people watch tv every day. Mercy!)

(2) I am not subjected to the relentless call to buy, buy, buy, get, get, get, more, more, more and the cruel judgment that I am not as beautiful, as popular, as whatever, as others.

(3) I do not have to hear about all the disturbing details of celebrity lives.

(4) I do not have to hear about all the murders and abductions and stealings that go on.

(5) Facts about tv: Studies show that people who watch the most tv are the most depressed. Studies show that people who watch the most tv are the most overweight. Studies show that people who watch the most tv are paranoid about the world and think it is a terrible place, filled with people who are ready at a moment's notice to cut your throat. I do not want to be depressed or overweight or paranoid.

(6) I can do many things. I can read. I can cook. I can take pictures. I can rock on my front porch. I can visit with people. I can walk. If I want to try something I've never done---say, learn to hula---I can do it. I have time.

(7) And, finally, I am happier, much happier, without tv.

So, what do you think? Anyone else out there tv-free? Anyone else contemplating it?

(Note: I am not obsessive about this. If someone tells me about something fantastic on tv, I might watch it. And I watch movies now and then.)

Photo Credit: beedieu from Creative Commons Flickr


  1. I'm not entirely t.v. free but as close to it as I've ever been. The only exception I make is when my son wants to watch a sports game and he has done all his homework, then I relent. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing! If I want the news, I just go on the Internet, but otherwise, my time is so much more productive now! (i.e. more reading :))

  2. GREAT post! I have not made a "commitment" to not watch television, but I rarely do. I watch the evening weather, so I know what to expect the next day, but that is my only regular "show" I need to start using those 4.5 hours more wisely, however. Somehow it never translates to reading more books. Sounds like a good New Year's Resolution to me!

  3. Congratulations on a hard but meaningful commitment! Our household doesn't watch too much television anymore. We have not made the "commitment" but it seems almost like a natural progression when you are reading all these terrific books to review. The Kindle also saved our household because now my husband is always reading too! :D

  4. I watch very little TV with the exception of about 30 minutes of news each day, and perhaps another hour, here and there a few times a week. I much prefer to read, while my hubby prefers the TV, but we are both happy and it works for us.

    I'm glad you are happy with your choice as well; each to their own.

  5. What a great commitment! I have a friend doing the same and I can see that it's very rewarding. Like the others, I haven't the same commitment but very rarely watch tv. Not doing it consciously, but I just haven't been the tv type ever.

  6. I don't watch much tv nowadays. There's a few shows I try to keep up with, but I don't mind if I miss them. You're right, I would rather read than watch tv.

  7. I have a TV but I rarely use it. I'm in my early 20s so the Internet is something I basically grew up with. And after experiencing the interactive, user-generated Net 2.0, TV-watching is just so passive.

    I'll watch HGTV occasionally but that's about it. I can get all my favorite shows (House, True Blood, and Mad Men) online for free anytime I like. I actually think TV is going to be obsolete within a few decades.

  8. I'm glad that works so well for you! I watch TV but not live. I either watch my fave shows that are recorded on DVR or TV on DVD. And I love movies! :)

  9. I watch so little tv these days. I use my PVR a lot so I can watch my british shows like As Time Goes By when I'm in between books, but I devote a solid 4-5 hours a day reading and don't regret it. Books are always my first love :)

    Thanks for commenting on my Sunday Salon post. I'm definitely going to check out some of your Best Reads of 2009 :)

  10. I actually took a step backwards in that department. I used to watch little to no television, since I found that standard network shows just didn't appeal to me. I'd tune in to the odd HBO show here and there, if a network had decided to rebroadcast it, but that was it. I much prefered to read.

    Then I started borrowing the odd season of TV-on-DVD from the library, and I realized that some television shows were actually as good as books. I still don't watch a lot of TV compared to some folks, and little of it is first run, but I definitely watch more than I did eight or nine years ago. I don't find that it really interferes with my reading time, either; I read on the bus to and from work, and on my breaks. I take care of other things in the evenings, including television.

    I do think, though, that watching the shows on DVD helps. I don't have to watch them at a particular time, as I would if I were watching first run shows. I can squeeze them in whenever I've got a chance.

  11. Yes! We gave it up at about the same time and it changed our lives. We do watch movies and shows on DVD every once in a while. I read, I write, I draw, we play cards and talk.

    I am amazed at how distracting and seductive the TV is if I get near one and can not understand how people can watch one hour, let alone 4 and a half!

  12. I'm kind of like Eva; I just don't watch a lot of live TV. I'm pretty selective in my viewing, but I do watch. Sometimes I wish I didn't, because without it I definitely WOULD have more time to read, but there is some pretty good storytelling on TV too.

  13. Good for you. I doubt I would miss TV but I would miss my husband since he would divorce me. Sigh. *jealous* :-)

  14. We're pretty much a tv-free household, too. I can honestly say we almost never watch any tv shows. We do, however, watch movies (and tv shows on dvd) that we rent from Netflix. We probably average 2 nights a week. If we're watching something like House, we may watch 2-3 episodes in one evening. But that's the extent of our viewing. No news, no reality programs, no CSI, no sports (ok, we watched the last couple of minutes of the Husker game a couple of weeks ago), no talk shows. We get all our news and weather online. We'd both rather read. Thank goodness I married my husband!

  15. Oddly, my husband loves tv. Somehow it does not cause a problem with us.

    Also, I feel furious when I see tvs everywhere...the grocery store...Wal-Mart...restaurants, for goodness sake! Don't these people know I want to get away from all that, especially when I am eating!


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