There are two types of people in this world… ones that watch TV and ones that don’t! Ok before you jump and ask… I am the NON TV type. as a matter of fact, I don’t even have a TV in my house! And yes people look at me weird when I say that (so I have stopped saying it). For years, there was this drone of sports and NEWS in the background in our home and the first opportunity I got I dumped the idiot box and opted for silence!! You must think that I then watch it on my state of the art computers… but no… I am just honestly not the TV type. Sports never interested me (except an ODI between India and Australia where India is winning). I listen to NEWS for 15 minutes a couple of times a day. The rest I have Twitter to keep me abreast with who’s dead, who said what, political faux-pas and running commentaries. And serials…. That’s just not me!
No I was not always like this! I used to love watching action serials like SVU, Mission Impossible, $6M man. Some comedy serials like Friends, Seinfeld, When I met your mother, Drew Carey Show. And even family shows like The Bold and Beautiful (I accept shamefully!). But all that changed! I don’t think it was gradual… Just one day I watched it and followed it with fervour and the next I didn’t and didn’t even realise it till someone at work asked what I thought of about a serial I hadn’t even heard about! I was actually embarrassed not being with the times so, I embarked on trying to watch TV again to see how it would be like after so many years of not watching. I gave myself an hour, but I couldn’t last beyond 20 minutes. The shows felt boring, the programs seemed empty, the advertisements were pointless – it just felt like a waste of time. I’d much rather be doing something else.
See, most people I talk to say, it’s a way to “turn off,” or “switch off” after a long day! For me, that isn’t necessary. Turning off for me is “Turning on” the mind’s eye! I am always a bit sad when my daily forty minute train ride ends. I really enjoy gazing out the window, just thinking, playing a feature-length what-if scenario in my head and staying fully entertained. About what I’d do if this train derailed when going over a river (like Katipatang). About the possibility of getting the chance to meet someone just like me but from an entirely different world. About living in a property overlooking the Sydney Harbour, or Manhattan, Thames, Big Ben… About meeting a music director who sees me and offers me an opportunity for a Voice over!!! The imagination is limitless as is the music I listen to eclectic, multi-fold and interesting! And interestingly, I don’t get bored.
Yeah that’s the other thing I get! “What would I do I didn’t? I’d get bored”. For me “boredom” is really frustration that I am not doing other, better things at that moment. Nothing is more annoying than having to waste valuable time on something not worth wasting it on 😉 Like being stuck in a meeting I’d rather not be in! Or being stuck behind the TV because I am addicted to a Saas Bahu serial when there are so many other things I could be doing now that are more enjoyable or productive.
Don’t worry. I am not a freak (I don’t think so anyway!!) Sitting and thinking is not my only favourite pastime. You see, I am what you would call a social introvert. I enjoy my time alone, but I really enjoy spending time with the people I care about.
De-prioritization of TV has afforded me the luxury of valuable time which I’d rather spend with people I love. Instead of spending a weekend binging on House of Cards — a very anti-social activity, in my opinion — I would have taken on a physical activity like walking with or without friends or running among the bushes or spending an arvo with a girlfriend doing girlie things, having coffee with friends increasing my social network, toing and froing of ideas, listening to their experiences or maybe just contemplating, meditating or maybe even just sleeping more. My ideal way to turn off my brain is to waste time with people I care about (or could potentially), and at the end of that, feel enriched by their experiences. Trust me, artificially-induced emotions from media are no patch on the emotions created through meaningful relationships and friendships.
My goal is not to convince you to stop watching TV. Just me…There are too few hours in a day for me to spend them on an activity that hardly adds to any of the three things close to my heart, my creativity, my relationships and enriching experiences out of these relationships.