Is it good for us?


I admit that I have been watching too much television lately. I have recorded episodes of various shows and justify nestling my behind onto our cozy sectional couch because of how tired I am from long days. Despite how embarrassing it is to admit that, I decided to use these shows as a bit of a social study.

Taking out a large scrapbook and jotting down some of the programs that I tend to gravitate toward, down the far left side of the page, I came up with: This is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, Designated Survivor, Blindspot, My Big Fat Fabulous Life, The Big Bang Theory, The Amazing Race, Hoarders, My 600-lb Life, Till Debt Do Us Part, Joel Osteen, Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It, House Hunters, W Movies, etc.

Then, on the far right side of the page I wrote up to three words that describe what I feel the show is about. Some words that came up on my list were: family, life, love, medical issues, trauma, politics, investigations, passions, dance, overcoming adversity, travel, addictions, money, motivation, empowerment, spirituality, renovations, real estate, new beginnings and more.

It was amazing how the shows mirrored experiences, life events, things that I am passionate about and things that I worry about. It is almost as if we are able to sit in a sedentary position and live, relive, experience and feel what the characters on the screen are going through. We can relate or imagine, remember or dream about what we are seeing, feeling and hearing. Television is like an extension of our real lives, once we are out of steam to actually do the things ourselves.

The problem is that when I don’t have the time or energy to do things that I like to do, I veg in front of the television. When I have energy, I go outside and engage in the things that I like to do. When I am grumpy, depressed or moody, I sit in front of the television. When I feel good about myself and my life, I organize things, get items done on my list, clean and get out, doing activities.

I guess you can say that the amount of television we watch might be like a meter that measures our level of engagement with life. When I was the most engaged with life, we didn’t subscribe to cable. We would watch movies, but spent most of our time doing more productive things. We would walk after supper, instead of sitting down. We would work on creative projects or renos. I would write or take photos. We would play board games or sit in the yard, overlooking our property, to chat and relax.

Feeling sad that television has managed to creep back and become such a staple in our lives, I want to learn to make new choices. It helps when there are more daylight hours in the spring and summer but even when it is dark outside, I will have to make new decisions. This is only way to make the change I am seeking.

How are you feeling about the amount of television in your life? Is it a problem or do you have it controlled? Maybe television can actually be good for us, as a window into our soul? Is it a way to escape from life or replace the life that you want or it is simply a small supplement to the great life that you live?

What are your favourite shows, if you watch television, and what do you think that means for you? Are you craving more to your real life and are the hints in what you are watching? If you are feeling unmotivated, dulled or numb about your life, perhaps your shows may provide some clues.

The unfortunate thing for my husband is that the biggest filler of free time for me tends to be renovation, organizing or remodelling projects. I am itching for another one. That will keep us busy. What action steps are you willing to take this weekend to become more engaged in life and less engaged in watching other people’s lives on television? Do you need a new hobby? Can you pick up an old hobby? Once you figure out your clues, get up and do them…