Why I Threw Away My Television

The moment I walked my TV downstairs and into the trash, something shifted within me.

This post comes to us from our FP Contributor, Miann!

One of the first things people ask when they walk into my apartment is “where’s your TV?” I simply respond by pointing toward my balcony, edged by floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which overlooks the glistening ocean in all of its glory.

Other times the topic comes up outside of my apartment, in a world where it’s assumed everyone has at least one TV in their home. When I casually mention that I don’t have a want or need for a television, responses fluctuate on a pendulum of extremes: sometimes I’m met with a contemplative slow-nod, other times an acquiescent shrug or, more commonly, one of complete shock and disbelief.

When I first made the choice, it was fueled by political agenda. I listened to podcasts by modern philosopher Alain de Botton about his book The News: A Users Manual, where he discusses ideas on the news cycle which repeats every hour, on the hour across the world… I realised I was tied to a manipulative, fear-based, profit-driven media machine controlled by large corporations and government agenda. I learned there is nothing new about the news. On the same tired cycle it presents the same world view: greed, negligence, violence, despair, hatred and celebrity, which is rounded off by a “good” news story like a kitten being rescued from the tree.

But this article isn’t a political piece about lifting the curtain on a broadcasting instrument that ultimately decreases our ability to think for ourselves (and trust me when I say that’s not an accident). I want to share the other discoveries I made along the way since the day I ceremoniously marched my heavy TV down the stairs and into the trash.

I sleep better
There is endless information out there about the downside to falling asleep with the television on. From the light hitting the retina behind closed eyelids and disturbing the release of sleep hormones, to the effect this has on our function, performance and mood when we are awake, there’s no denying the benefits of going to sleep without the light from bright screens. Don’t get me wrong, some nights, when I’ve had a crazy day and can’t seem to mentally switch off, I’ll put on a movie to mentally unwind. But I wake up with more energy (and intelligence) when I switch everything off (laptop and phone) at about 9pm, then fall asleep to a book.

I feel happier and calmer
No longer met by the constant barrage of bad news, I feel a lot lighter and more positive about the world. Yes there are awful tragedies happening around the globe, constantly. Yes, sometimes I feel guilty about consciously turning a blind eye but, if I learn of an event, I have the freedom to seek out information on that topic and even become active in assisting. I remember being a small child, crying hysterically in the middle of the night because I was so distressed by the hole in the ozone layer above Australia (something that was topical on TV during that time). My stress and anxiety has also reduced thanks to my household being a sanctuary of quiet and calm, undisturbed by the black box.

I am more informed (than I thought I would be)
The initial fear I had when I began to entertain the idea of releasing myself from the grip of television was that I’d struggle to keep up during discussions of topical events. I soon found myself in those conversations and realized that current events are like the grown-up version of playground gossip. I opened up time which was formerly devoted to being fed news, to seeking out information that interested me. Someone once said, “to be interesting, be interested.” I’m drawn to people who discuss art, cinema, culture or travel, and who shake things up by inspiring debate. A life of richer content means a life of richer interactions, which heightens your connection with other people, and that’s what life is about, right? Connection – which is what I feel more of since disconnecting from my TV.

I have more time
Time is our race’s most precious commodity. There are only 24 hours in a day. 8 of which you’ll spend in bed, approximately 2 commuting, and 8 at work… which leaves about only 6 hours for you to fill it with meaningful activities that make life worth living. To illustrate: when I lived with an ex-boyfriend, we’d wake up and put on the TV from 6-7am. Then, in the evenings, we’d cook dinner around 6pm (with the TV on), eat in front of the TV, then devote the night to watch TV until about 9pm, then head to bed to stare at our phone screens. That left literally 1 hour to shower, prepare, clean and so on. Looking back I see how I was merely existing without passion and creativity.

I have discovered a new passion
Music. How did music have such a massive absence from my life until now? Previously music was something I plugged into while working out or commuting. Now music is something I devote time and attention to. The backdrop to my home is no longer commercials but audio art created by incredibly talented people who make me sing, tap my toes and even get up and dance. I can’t describe the joy it brings me. One song I particularly enjoy is this one by the Red Hot Chili Peppers *hint hint!*

+Would you give up TV, or have you bid farewell and discovered the benefits?

Comments

  1. i gave it away ten years ago and don’t miss it. I wonder why TV show writers don’t contemplate on the popular belief that TV rots your brain, and write better stuff.

  2. I came to the conclusion many years ago that me watching TV wasn’t going to change any thing that was going on in the world or my life any way. Life is for living, and watching mindless TV waste to much time, I want to do to many things in my life. A very positive action on your part. Enjoy each moment you have, there are no do overs, life is not a dress rehersial.

  3. I 100% agree. One month ago I moved to Denver, Colorado to start anew. In my new apartment we don’t have a TV. I used to come home, and immediately plop on the couch to watch TV. Some weekends, I would just veg out in front of the TV and not leave the apartment. Now that I’ve removed it from my life, I have found so much more time to focus on cooking healthy meals and consciously eating them without mindlessly staring at a screen. On the weekends, I don’t have the option of just staying in – I go out an explore nature or meet up with friends. My life is so much more fulfilling, connected, and lived with INTENT AND PURPOSE. Before, the television was dictating my time and my life, and a lot of my emotions. Now I CHOOSE how to spend my time and mental energy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (but make sure you have Hulu so you can watch the Bachelor..)

  4. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I didn’t consider the fact that he didn’t have a TV! So for the last two years, I have gone without, and I genuinely don’t miss it or even think of it! I used to spend so much of my time mindlessly sucked In for HOURS without knowing it! I certainly don’t have a problem with watching something from time to time but I find that I am also more creative and spend more time painting, which makes me feel so much happier!!

  5. I have a tv and I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it. I’ve lived without a tv for long periods of time and did find that I was way more productive. But, I also got very bored. I never watch the news unless I’m checking the weather. And I do my best to only watch the one or two shows I enjoy watching and then shutting the tv off. I often come home from work and read a book, cook dinner and take a shower without even turning the tv on. I guess just knowing I have it if complete boredom strikes, is like my security blanket. I devote my days off to spending time with my husband or making crafts and reading books or just simply lounging around. My parents don’t have a tv and I often think they are crazy, but my mom is so busy with life that she doesn’t even notice. Although, when she comes over to my house, if the tv is on, she is glued to it regardless of the show lol.

  6. I’ve been considering at least canceling my cable… but unfortunately, TV is my living. I’m a news producer, and I totally agree that the news is dark and ugly most of the time. However, I became a journalist to make a difference. Keep the powerful accountable. My company’s motto is “give light and the people will find their own way.” It’s not always pretty, and can be downright brutal to deal with on a daily basis, but my colleagues and I truly do care about the community and world as a whole. That being said, I refrain from watching the news at home as much as possible. I much prefer hiking, taking tap classes, spending time with my friends and family and eating fantastic food. Life is about living.

  7. I so agree with a lot of what you said. I haven’t toss my TV but the past week I devoted to reading. I told friends I was having a reading week. I have to say I enjoyed it, curled up on the sofa, no TV and majority of the time I felt like I missed nothing but accomplished more. Thank you.

  8. I have never had a TV. I cannot stand the constant hiss of negativity, infomercials, drama and stupid talk shows. Anything I actually want to watch or learn about, I can get online or on DVD. Unfortunately, my husband’s 93 year old grandmother ( who lives with us for care), HAS to have her TV in her room, and watches it all day!! – but we politely request that she always wear her wireless headphones for TV audio, so we do not have to hear it constantly. Music is huge in our house. Pandora radio is almost always on, and vinyls in the studio :) Congrats on your choice!

  9. I have no TV since I was around 10 years old and people has constantly give me this weird look ever since. I have no problem with that at all, really, and I feel very much content and connected with life and people around me, even when I don’t have TV. I watch TV when I visit friend’s house or when I slept at hotel, but that’s basically it. It’s been really long since I have TV now I just don’t realise any difference whether there’s TV or not. It’s worth trying to live without, though, like try living without microwave.

  10. I gave my tv away 4 years ago. I never listen to radio or read newspapers.
    I totally agree with what you write about news… Always the same bad news which makes people living in fear and just talking about all the bad things around the globe. How can we be happy with all this and believe in a good life and a good earth?!

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