I didn’t realize how ingrained the TV habit was until I got rid of cable. It was just what I did in the evening, ever since I was a kid. I generally picked a show to watch in each evening time slot. Cable made it possible to fill the whole evening, with all the channel options and then OnDemand. Even when I’d backed down from following many shows, I’d find some documentary or movie to watch.
Streaming allows me to do pretty much the same thing, but still, cutting the cable made me start thinking about what I was watching and realize that I didn’t have to watch anything. I started reading more and listening to the classical radio station. They broadcast concerts from major symphonies on weeknights, and I enjoy listening to those while I read, surf the Internet, or even write.
But then this week I had an odd epiphany (odd in that it hadn’t occurred to me sooner): I could do other things in the evening. I’d taken out the sewing machine last weekend to do some mending, and I’d started a project to rework something I’d already made. I found myself thinking that I’d finish that this weekend, but then I realized I could do it in the evening. I didn’t have to spend the evening consuming entertainment. I can also use that time to sew, paint, or even work on my own music. That would be a good time to play the harp, since it’s not loud enough to disturb the neighbors (soprano singing or the flute might be a bit much for nighttime).
I do need a little TV time most evenings because that’s when I do the physical therapy exercises for my knees. I’ve started shifting some of that to during the news.
It’s not that TV is necessarily bad. It’s more about looking at the ruts I’ve fallen into and figuring out ways to do things differently. There are so many things I want to do that I say I don’t have time for, but I do actually have time. I just need to use my time wisely.