Not only does it make us dumber, it also ruins our lives. (Like you haven’t heard of that one before!) The way television programs spoon-feed and baby your brain is possibly the straightest way to mental degradation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing anybody. I watch extensive television (mainly the Walking Dead, The Voice, and other addictive shows with attractive guys).
It’s kind of true though. When we are watching television, we’re just sitting there while information, images and sounds course through our brain. There’s little mental and/or intellectual engagement involved, unless you’re watching something highly informative, like a documentary or something–but let’s face it, most of us watch television for fun, relaxation and entertainment.
There’s a catch, though. Unless watching television is your passion, it really doesn’t do you any good. For me, I like to be engaged creatively. I love to write, and I love to learn. When I’m writing and learning, that’s when I’m “myself” the most. I won’t survive my day to day life otherwise. I need to have a creative, mental, emotional and intellectual “output”, rather than being a passive receptor all the time. After no-life-ing Walking Dead (which means watching fifty something episodes one after another through the course of one week), I found myself agitated and frustrated for no reason. I mean, I love the show, and in my heart I’m already married to the Dixon Brothers, but something just wasn’t right.
I didn’t know why. Didn’t I love watching the show? Eventually I figured it out why I was so inexplicably annoyed. The moments when my butt wasn’t hurting and when I wasn’t thinking about how sore my shoulders were becoming, it was when I was crying over some character’s death. I became emotionally engaged, and thus I turned from just a recipient to an active participant of the show.
That was also when I figured out this: I’m not a TV person. I’m just not. The reason I never got into television is probably because I can’t sit there for long. I have to do something. Something that allows me to be creative, active–something that requires my brain to function. Having just graduated from university, I think my brain remains hardwired to that “learning mode”. I need to feed on information, I need to digest them, and I need to engage with them–and I can’t just sit there.
That’s just me, however. The reason I am writing this post is because–a friend of mine told me that the average American watches 4 hours of television on a daily basis. That’s 25% of your time awake that you spent on TV. Isn’t that kind of scary? I’m the same. After working for a long day, I don’t want to use my brain at all. I just want to sit there and rest and, yeah, NOT use my brain.
But the thing is–I think, for most of us, that’s not enough. We need to engage in something else, something we love. You don’t have to be a nerd like me, but you should go do something you love. Something that is yourself. Something that you feel good doing. Maybe it’s cooking, maybe it’s reading, hiking, hanging out with friends, spending time with your pet, your kids–anything. Or maybe your “thing” is television–then so be it.
My point is, we need that downtime. We need time to be ourselves, after a long day of work, after a continued period of stress and exhaustion. If your job isn’t something you love doing, you need to create time for YOURSELF. Otherwise, you’ll shrivel up and die. And life will be a giant steaming pile of boring.
(Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand yes, the cheesy uplifting ending, as usual!!!)
What’s life if you can’t be yourself? :)