Giving Up TV
July 1, 2010
It scares me to even write this because then it will be real. But that’s exactly why I need to write this – I need it to be real. I need to put it out there and be accountable. And in order to battle any addiction, you need a support group.
I’m canceling my cable.
Ahhh!! It’s real! I said it. I’m accountable. I’m really doing it. Oh my God. I’m freaking out. I’ve been a TV junkie my whole life. Growing up, I had a TV in my room from the time I was two or three. In college, I had an illegal cable descrambler. And now, after a long, busy day, there’s nothing I love more than sitting on my couch with TiVo. And perhaps if I was a normal TV watcher, this would be fine. But I’m not. I’m an addict. I can’t sit down and watch one or two shows and call it a night. I’ll sit down in front of the TV, already exhausted, at 9:00 or 10:00 pm, and then watch straight through to at least 2:00 am, occasionally 3:00 or 4:00. Every time I’ll promise myself, “just ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Private Practice,’ then bed.” But like all addicts, my disease is beyond my control. So after “Grey’s” and “Private,” depending on the season, come “Glee,” “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” then “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” “United States of Tara,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Tudors,” “Survivor,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Mad Men,” “Friday Night Lights,” and on and on and on.
Just writing this, my heart is racing. I can’t imagine not knowing what’s going on with… all of these people/characters. (I can’t even pick some specific people/characters. I am invested in all of them!) Maybe this is a bad idea. TV gives me so much pleasure. Why should I deprive myself of that? Taking deep breaths. Getting refocused. I know why. Because it’s not good for me. Watching TV actually makes me feel bad. When I’m done, I feel like my whole being has been pervaded with negative energy. Yes, there are moments of joy, laughter, happy tears, and inspiration. But for me, for some reason, it is all outweighed by this sense of heaviness/angst/discomfort/sadness when I’m done. Maybe if I just watched “Glee” and nothing else, I’d be fine?
A year or two ago, after wimping out on canceling cable, I decided to at least cut out shows that I didn’t totally love. So I broke up with the Desperate Housewives. And I didn’t really miss them. This time, though, it feels different. I feel like I can easily part ways with the Bach and Bachelorette. But Nurse Jackie’s husband just found out she’s a drug addict, Tara just discovered a new alter ego, and Betty and Don Draper are divorcing. This is hell.
I swear this is not me backpedaling. I will allow myself a few favorites online. But I cannot and will not spend hours in front of the idiot box like I’ve done for these past three decades. I haven’t watched TV for three weeks and I’ve been fine. But last night, alone in my hotel room, I closed the curtains, hunkered down, and watched a whole slew of shit. It was such a big hit off the crack pipe. Yes, there were moments I felt happy, moved to tears, and inspired. But overall, while watching, afterward, and this morning, I felt bleh.
It feels terrifying to know that when I get home to LA later tonight, there are three weeks worth of TiVo waiting for me. I haven’t quite decided how to handle it. Technically, it’s all grandfathered in.
Regardless, I’m canceling my cable and I’m excited to see who I am and what I do without it. I’ve said it out loud, and it’s real, and I’m accountable.
July 8, 2010
I cannot believe how different my life feels already. I haven’t even canceled my cable yet but I’m already experiencing better focus, productivity, and clarity. Just knowing TV is not an option – even while it actually still is – has been amazing. I already feel certain that this was the right decision.
July 9, 2010
Shit. It just occurred to me that I still have the series finale of “Lost” on my TiVo. It feels totally ridiculous to have come this far and not watch the final episode. I will watch it, and then – bam – cable over.
July 11, 2010
I watched the final episode of “Lost” and sobbed. So beautiful, so profound. While crying, I thought, “Why would I give this up? Being moved like this is such a gift.” And it is. But it comes at a cost, and I am clear on this now.
July 12, 2010
Just hung up with my cable provider. I did it. Canceled. I had one moment of concern, when the representative started asking me if I was sure I didn’t want to just suspend the service as opposed to canceling it: What if I regretted my decision and then had to deal with a whole rigmarole to get it turned back on in a few months? But I quickly regained my composure and continued with my plan. And I feel great. It was the right thing to do and I’m thrilled to have done something so good for myself. And I’m excited to see what the world has in store for me now that I’m no longer selling my soul to TV.
Photo credit: David Ojalvo