Blasphemy, you say. Life without TV cannot be better than a life with it. Not with 4K, UltraHD, Blu-Ray, On-Demand, Streaming, and everything else out there. Without TV, there’d be no daily hum of CNN, ESPN, Food Network, and the Today Show in our lives every day.
But let me tell you, life without TV is better, so much better.
I’ve been experimenting with life without TV for the past few months. Quite frankly, I like not having a TV in our house anymore. There’s no longer a humongous thing hanging over my fireplace mantle. The TV is not the centerpiece of my living room or the focal point of my master bedroom. It no longer exists in our house, at least in the traditional sense.
I do have about 6-8 smaller screens that have become our “personal” TVs. I gave in and subscribed to Netflix for a couple of months because I was tired of having my daughter watch two-minute snippets of her favorite shows on YouTube Kids and I needed to finish all three seasons of House of Cards. We have since cancelled Netflix and really haven’t noticed any difference without it.
Having our content limited to our tablets and smartphones actually helps our relationship with the content. When we come home, we don’t feel the urge to sink into our couch, push the red button on our remote control, and let the TV be on until we call it a night. But building up this resilience and resistance to overconsumption of onscreen entertainment has required practice and patience.
Try not watching any football bowl games or any of the Christmas NBA games, especially Lebron’s Cavs versus Steph’s Dubs. Try not watching the ball drop in NYC for New Year’s Eve on CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. Try not watching the morning shows or the nightly news, ever.
It’s really, really hard. But it’s easy not to give-in to the constant temptations of TV by not having a TV at all. There’s no choice, just acceptance, then joyful benefits.
These are 6 reasons why life without TV is better for us:
- We have a quieter house: With two kids, ages 6 and 4, this is amazing!
- We read more: My oldest daughter loves her books. My youngest daughter loves to be read to. I’ve read more books in the last few months than I’d read in the last few years.
- We talk to each other more: At dinner. In the living room. Without any distractions.
- We engage in our hobbies more: My wife and my youngest daughter love their art projects. My oldest daughter and I love our reading and writing projects. We also are learning how to play our guitars.
- We have more time: We get enough sleep. We get our housework done. The kids get their work done. We don’t rush. We’re not late. We exercise. We go to parks. We go on walks. We enjoy the outdoors.
- We save more money: With no TV, there’s less electricity being used, no need for high cable costs, no DVD player or DVDs, and no Apple TV.
Not having a TV in our house is perhaps the best thing we’ve eliminated in our life. We’ve got more time, energy, and money for ourselves and for each other. We pay more attention to the things that matter.
One important thing to note is that I’ve given up my need for watching live sports. This is absolutely incredible, I must admit. When I had a big HD TV, I would watch sports every day, especially basketball. Now I have time to actually play basketball on some afternoons and weekends. I still get my basketball fix, just in two-minute highlight reels on my ESPN app. And after a few months of living like this, that’s all I really need.
As for the almost twenty hours that I would have normally consumed of TV per week, I’m giving that free time back to myself, my family, and my community. I think life is and will be better this way.
Here’s some questions to think about to evaluate your relationship with TV:
- How much time do you spend in front of your TV every day? Every week?
- If you tried turning off your TV for one week, one month, or one year, how would your life change?