Select Page

When I was in high school, I was given an assignment to enhance my experience of a book (I can’t for the life of me remember which book!): give up electronics and as many “modern-day” conveniences as I could for two days. These were two great days. Instead of texting or calling my friends/boyfriend to hang out, we made plans throughout the day when we saw each other. Instead of sitting in front of the television when I got home from school, I walked over to the pond across the street and went fishing. Even today, I find that my most peaceful and productive days are those that do not involve watching television or walking around with my phone glued to my hand. Here’s why I think more people should try to minimize these “modern-day” conveniences.

1. Life could be more peaceful.

My husband and I have a bad habit of turning on the tube anytime we sit on the couch together, which is often: lunch breaks, dinner, after dinner, weekends, date nights…it’s not good. Some might say they like to relax with a good show or movie, and in moderation, I would concur. But how often do we lie down at night with numerous thoughts running through our minds? How often do we forget things because we simply have too many things to remember? Our minds could be less cluttered if we would allow ourselves to experience a little less noise and a little more quiet, or at least more meaningful noise, like quality conversations with friends. You have enough going through your brain without adding more plots, more words, more ADVERTISEMENTS—and let’s not forget the pure junk that litters the thousands of stations available.

2. We could be more productive.

I admit that I’m lazy. While my husband is kind and sweet enough to hop up and run an errand or do a chore right this moment just because I asked him to, I have a tendency to get comfy too easily. I’m spoiled, okay? It’s not my fault. Hulu has robbed me of time: time to do the dishes, time to read, time to write, time to meet up with friends, time to take the dog for a walk, time to play games, repair tattered clothing and Simon’s stuffed animals. (By the way, have you watched Downward Dog yet? {Don’t let me be a negative influence.}) Our sad, pathetic, nightly routine has been difficult to break, but we’re slowly making progress. Maybe I’ll finish Crime and Punishment sometime this year.

3. We could have more meaningful experiences.

Some of my favorite shows include I Love Lucy, Law & Order SVU, the Chicago shows, and now Downward Dog. But not one of my favorite memories involves a television (or a phone or computer, for that matter). The most memorable moments in my life include sitting around playing games with friends or family, getting outside for a game of ultimate frisbee or a campfire, laughing till I cry about stupid nothings, testing new waters, and seeking new adventures. For those of you thinking cheesy thoughts like, the first time I held my significant other’s hand was in a movie theater, what was meaningful to you—the movie or the hand-holding? I rest my case.

4. Even our pets get it.

My cat, Delilah, likes to sit right up against me when I’m watching TV. She thinks it’s our quality time together: she gets a good petting while gracing me with her presence. When I’m texting or surfing the web on my phone, she nudges my hand and sometimes causes me to drop it. It’s like she knows I’m wasting my/her time. Simon, even though he goes to the window whenever a dog barks on TV, can’t understand why we would rather sit and stare into space rather than play. And I wonder the same thing. Why wouldn’t we rather play and be care-free? Are we too tired to do fun things? Are we so bogged down with life that it’s more appealing to watch TV than to do something truly enjoyable, something that could lift some mental stress rather than add to it?

To sum it up, TV gets in the way. For everyone wondering why you don’t have as much fun as the next person, why you don’t have stories to share with your colleagues, or why you don’t have more meaningful relationships, leave the remote on the table, and do something you haven’t in a long time—or ever. Make it a goal to do something different at least once a week. Make note of the benefits you see when you leave your phone in the next room.

If you’re OCD and upset that I stopped at four instead of rounding it off to five, consider this a small step outside your comfort zone. You’re welcome.