After a bumpy ride over the Christmas holidays, I was happy to be back at work and settling into the familiar January routine. Well, almost. Being super busy with work and church activities, plus a few new social events – all welcome distractions from some ongoing family dramas.
My friend teaches elementary school and she often asks the children: So, is it a new day or another day? When I ask myself that question it takes an effort of will to answer the way children do. I’m taking it one step further and declaring that this will be a NEW year, not another year. Instead of defaulting to pessimistic optimism, or even complacent fatalism, I am choosing hopeful expectation.
In those rare moments when I’m not super busy, I think… about the past and the future. I am trying to learn from the past so I that I can do things differently in the future. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result (something Joyce Meyer often says in her humorous right-on way). I know that I cannot STOP a bad habit; I need to REPLACE it with a good habit.
Which brings me to my addiction. It started innocently enough, when I was 6 or 7 years old. My grandmother and I did it together. Her English wasn’t very good so it was my job to translate or explain things to her. We loved to laugh at Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bViswHmi6E Or to catch up on the gossip in Petticoat Junction. We laughed at the Beverley Hillbillies as those simple country bumpkins tried to adapt to life in their rich new neighbourhood – and groove to one of the best TV theme songs ever http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwzaxUF0k18
Those were simpler times. TV shows offered good-natured humour and uncluttered story lines – not the nastiness and vulgarity of today’s soap opera dramas and sitcoms. Our whole family enjoyed watching The World of Disney, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Tiny Talent Time, Bonanza, The Carol Burnett Show, and others.
Over time, my appetite changed and grew. TV shows changed too – the wholesome shows were crowded out by those that reflected the moral decline that was becoming status quo in the western world. My addiction adapted along with the menus and my palate was refined.
Nowadays there are hundreds of channels, live streaming, Netflix all available 24/7. The good news is, we can choose – and control – what, how and when we ingest this fare.
That’s what I decided to do – to manage my addiction.
Here are some ideas that have been working for me. Feel free to borrow and personalize them:
- Be selective. Last fall, at the start of the new TV season, I decided which shows were MUST SEE (eg., Elementary, Mentalist, some home makeover shows, Downton Abbey, etc.)
- Call the shots. I am an old-fashioned technophobe, so I set my VCR to TAPE the shows on my MUST SEE list (you can save them on your PVR)
- Set a limit and stick to it. I allow myself 2 hours of TV on weeknights. That includes “real time” shows as well as the taped/saved shows. On weekends, holidays, vacation and sick days I allow myself more time.
- Collect box sets of TV shows you love. I have the whole set of Dick van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Gilmore Girls, and some Monk, Psych, Frasier and others. I watch them when there’s nothing else I want to see on TV.
- Check and adjust your schedule. With a new calendar year come some schedule changes, so I adjusted what I watch. my schedule too
- Purge before adding a new show. I am trying to STOP watching shows I no longer enjoy. I will check the TV listings (especially Turner Classic Movies) and tape some movies.
- Review and reflect. At the end of the season – over the summer – I will review and reflect, and start the process again in September. Some series will end, some new ones will begin.
- Back to step 1.
Believe it or not, this is progress for me. I used to switch on the TV as soon as I came home from work and switch it off when I went to bed. Now, I’m more intentional about it. And I fast TV one day a week (Wednesday).
This has worked for me with a couple of other bad habits, where I found my appetite decreasing over time. I am hoping for the same result with my safe addiction. Time will tell…