At the beginning of this year, I decided to stop binge watching TV. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy TV anymore. I still follow some of my favorite shows from week to week. But the days of knocking out a season of The Sopranos or Breaking Bad in the course of several days is behind me. It turns out, I’m actually way happier this way. Binge watching TV actually correlates strongly with depression and isolation, and I guess I’m not feeling either anymore. Still, the primary reason that I don’t binge watch TV anymore is that I just have more going on. With that in mind, here are some of the things I’ve been able to accomplish since I decided to stop binge watching TV.
I’ve Started Reading More Again
As a creative, consuming storytelling and information is a huge part of my life. Since college, TV was my primary way of fulfilling those needs. However, once you’ve seen the best that TV has to offer, it’s actually mostly just crap. The Sopranos or The Wire may have you thinking about life and other meaningful things, but seven seasons of Friends won’t actually teach you much except for the fact that everyone in NYC lives beyond their means and that there are apparently no black people in the known universe.
When you start to recognize that there isn’t much knowledge to be gained from most shows, you might start to realize that the best place to experience storytelling and gain information is actually books. That’s why after deciding to stop binge watching TV, I immediately started to read more. In fact, of the 35 books I plan to read this year, I’ve already read 20. Not bad for a guy who regrettably binge watched Sons of Anarchy last year.
I Started This Blog
One of the best things about reading more is it actually compels you to write more as well. This is actually pretty important as a writer. As my writing mentor once told me, “a writer is someone who writes.” After seeing the success that my girlfriend has gotten on her blog, I figured now was as good a time as ever to actually live up to that advice. While I still do work on creative writing occasionally, my day job is as a PR Manager for an SEO agency.
Aside for the monthly post I do for my company’s blog, I didn’t really have an outlet since I left the freelance writing world to publish consistently, especially on the things I wanted to write about. Now I’m close to three months in, but I certainly would not have had the time (or the ideas) if I was still bringing the boys up to speed by binge watching TV (sorry, no more Sons of Anarchy jokes).
I Go Out More
Going out is a vague term. I wouldn’t say I drink more. But what I would say is that I make a bigger effort to do things. I certainty travel more now that I decided to stop binge watching TV. But that is mostly because of my improved financial situation. What I will say is that there is a correlation between stopping binge watching TV and getting out more. When you aren’t shackled to the TV it’s easier to go out and do things. Whether that’s going to a local bar and playing a game of chess or taking a day trip to the beach, it’s much easier to do things when you aren’t thinking about the latest episode of whatever TV show you are currently binging.
By Deciding To Stop Binge Watching TV, I Gained My Life Back
When it comes down to it, I just have less free time than I used to. In college, you have only hours of activities and responsibility you need to see to each day. But when you are financially independent, there are other considerations at play. You need to work. You need to feed yourself. The apartment isn’t going to clean itself (that last one is a lie, I never clean). But when you have a fuller schedule, something has to give. For me, that something is to stop binge watching TV.
One day, when I’m broke, single and fun-employed, I may go back to binge watching TV. Fortunately that day is not today, and hopefully not tomorrow. For now, with the exception of binge watching season 2 of Love on Netflix (it was about as satisfying as it sounds), I’ve made good on my pact to stop binge watching TV. But I’ll still eventually pick up from the midseason break of The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.