Cutting the cord on our cable was great for our budget, but it was even better for my soul. It was everything I never knew I needed. See, I was so used to coming home, plopping down on the couch and watching hours of whatever was on TV. I had shows every night of the week, and that's just what I did. For years, that is how I lived.
I was hesitant to pull the plug. I kept delaying the conversation with my husband, thinking I could put it off (hopefully until never). How would I get by without my Bravo and E! and MTV and every channel in between? What would I do without the Housewives and the Kardashians, the Teen Moms, the Bachelors and all the Real World Challenges?
But, then I did. I unplugged.
What happened next really shocked me.
My biggest takeaways from turning off the TV have been:
More meaningful conversations with my husband
More intentional use of my free time
Improvement in my overall wellbeing, health and creativity
I realized that the instant gratification and mind numbing programs were robbing me of the daily opportunities to pursue my passions and be the best version of myself.
Being more interested in The Real Housewives than reading before bed with my kids is not the kind of mom I want to be.
Being more invested in who got the final rose on The Bachelor than talking with my husband about his day is not the kind of wife I want to be.
It took actually turning off all the background noise to get my attention. I was just zoning out and ignoring the opportunities I had to better myself and pursue the things I'm passionate about. I found myself not even missing my shows. I was talking more, thinking more, reading more, doing more. I stayed outside past dark playing with my kids and enjoying the sunset, because I wasn't rushing inside to get in place for the primetime lineup. I enjoyed long conversations at the dinner table, because I wasn't racing to eat while watching a show in the background.
That fear I was going to miss something was gone. The time I actually gained by giving up my spot on the couch in front of the TV has been life changing. I realized for the first time how watching hours of mindless TV on a regular basis had made me passive and less engaged. I didn't even see it until I stopped it. My routine, especially my sleep, has improved. I feel more creative and less tired.
It took me several months before I even wanted to watch much of anything. I've eased back into watching Netflix or Hulu here and there, and I'll binge watch a new series every once in a while, but it's nothing like it used to be. I still don't have that urge to get completely lost in the screen every night. Now, I find myself being drawn to more interactive and creative programs, like game and trivia shows, documentaries, and shows that inspire self-improvement.
It was an eye-opening and pivotal experience. Who would have ever thought that unplugging would make me feel more plugged-in than ever before?
I challenge all of you to go without watching TV, even if it's just for a week or two, and I bet you see the difference, too!