Just turn it off, Graffiti in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens,
32mm, 1/100 sec @ f3.8, ISO 400, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]
Not - watch less of it.
Not - just keep it on "in the background".
Not - save it only for your favorite shows.
Not - play it back from a DVR and therefore skip through the ads, on your own schedule.
Not - only catch up on the news.
What if you just turned it off, and never turned it on again?
"Oh, that's just not possible. Why in the world would I do that?"
Ah, but it is. At first I didn't think so either.
I knew I never really liked watching the tube. For me, it was all consuming.
My wife, however, really could have it on in the background, and still do other things, like quilting, embroidery, and amazingly to me, even read a book. Right there on the sofa, while the TV is blaring away.
But me? I just could not multitask in this situation. If the TV was on, I was watching. Even stupid shows. Mindless, lowest-common-denominator stuff.
And then one day, it just happened.
The TV was turned off, and it was never turned on again. I credit my wife for this decision.
The TV wasn't evil to her; just a tool, like the internet. But I guess she too noticed it somehow had become a time sink. And so, when I came home from work one day, the TV was off. After dinner, the TV stayed off. And it was never turned on again.
And instead, in the evening, after an unbelievable home-cooked vegan meal (I am such a lucky man), we tend to read now. And during the day, and on weekends, we have more free time to pursue our interests, or spend time outside in nature.
So did turning off the TV profoundly change our lives? I'd say, "yes and no".
"No," because all we did was turn off the TV. Anyone can do it. In fact all you really have to do is not turn it on. So really, it is the art of just saying "no."
And "Yes," because we actually did it. The intention was made, and the decision followed. Bravo.
And what I realize is, this is something that can be applied to any part of your life. You really are in control of your life. In this case, where and how you choose to spend your free time.
And if you can control that aspect of your life ... what other changes do you long to make? Perhaps with the additional quiet time now available to you, there will be more time for introspection and reflection.
And this can allow you to create the life that you have always wanted. Or just follow your nose to see what the next surprising decision might be.
Just by turning off the TV.