Lots of times folks talk about things and I just smile and nod. Dancing with the Stars? Never seen it. The Bachelorette? Same thing. Game of Thrones? Mad Men? The New Battlestar Galactica? all lost on me.
I realized the other day that the only time I’ve watched television since the analog-digital switch in June 2009 is when I’ve been somewhere else (visiting family, etc.). Our television habits were already drastically different than the average American family. My wife and I were discussing it just last night and as we looked back through our records we realized that we got rid of cable in 1999 (switching to satellite at the time) and that we got rid of satellite in July 2002. It’s our tenth anniversary of being free!
Seriously, by not paying for television for ten years we have saved over $5,000 (that’s a mind numbing thought). Not only that, but we have had our time free to do lots of other things.
We originally decided to get rid of paid television because we found that when we got home from work we cooked some dinner and sat down in front of the television until it was time to go to bed. We would watch the news, some news/talk shows, some entertainment, maybe some sports, and go to sleep. We would wake in the morning and go to work and we would come home at night and do nothing.
We decided that our quality of life needed to change. We dumped satellite and only watched over-the-air television (which reduced us to ABC, CBS, Fox, and PBS – no NBC, so we never even saw a single episode of “The Office”, but from what I heard I didn’t need to see it because I lived it).
What have we done with our time since then? Well, we traveled some (we have been to Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Oklahoma on vacations since then as well as Paris, France), we volunteered some (with multiple organizations for various purposes), we got involved in local politics (several different successful campaigns and some that were slightly less successful), I have written a book, and we have had a couple of wonderful, brilliant kids who have never had the benefit of cable/satellite.
This is not to say that we don’t ever watch television. We have hundreds of DVDs. Movies new and old, wonderful television series that are family friendly and hand picked for ourselves and our kids. We rent other DVDs and we watch some streaming video on this thing called the internet.
With as much garbage as is out there now, I am quite happy with our choice. Our children are 3 and 6 and they are both, well, children. I have never heard a curse word uttered by either one and they play together with each other and other kids just fine (caveat – our 6 year old called her brother a “silly ass” the other day, but she was using it in the context of 19th century British vernacular from the book Peter Pan and not the context of 21st century American vernacular – she has been corrected). They are not obsessed with the latest, greatest toys or technologies. We can also pull this off because we are homeschooling – but that’s another topic for another post.
While I doubt seriously that most folks would consider eliminating cable/satellite/antenna television, I seriously encourage everybody to simply try going without for a while. You end up with more time to devote to your family and your interests and fewer regrets about wasting that most precious of resources on frivolity and triviality.