Why I’ve given up television for 31 days.

The title of this post is “Why I’ve given up television for 31 days”. I’m hoping now you can answer that question for me because I have NO idea why I thought this was a good idea. I really wish I was more of a drinker because I could blame this sort of thing on being drunk.

On August 1st I put all of my television converters in a drawer and walked away from my very best friends in the world. Mindy and Jon and Josh and Francis. Mindy you may know from The Mindy Project, Jon hosted a little show called The Daily Show and Josh is my very newest best friend from a show I’m going to tell you about next month. And Francis. I didn’t really walk away from Francis from House of Cards because I’m all caught up on his life but I still feel like I’ve left him behind. Abandoned from my life.

I plan to be TV free for the entire month of August. Some of the reasons behind this poorly thought out idea are coming back to me, but they don’t seem nearly as good as the idea of hanging out with Mindy again.

I didn’t think I watched that much television and I guess I really don’t. But I seem to have it turned on a hell of a lot. I always turn the news on at noon in my office. Then that leads into a Canadian talk show called The Social which I really like but would never turn on specifically to watch. But since the television is already on from the news, I leave it on. Then comes Dr. Oz, who I don’t particularly like and then Dr. Phil who I don’t particularly like even more. Then there’s a bunch of more shows, until at 6:00 the news is on again and I pay attention. Sometimes I think to turn the television off during the day and sometimes I just leave it on so I can pretend there’s some action going on around here with all the background noise it provides.  It’s like I’m working in a high pressure, bustling office where movers and shakers plan cocktails after work and complain about the waxed floors making their high heels slip.

MY LATEST VIDEOS

After the news comes an entertainment show I’m not in love with, which is followed by The Big Bang Theory which I love and then a bunch of shows I don’t care about. Yet, the television is on.

I generally sit down to relax and watch television around 9 o’clock at night once it gets too dark outside for me to do anything out there other than dig up the neighbour’s hostas.  Yet by that point the television has probably been on for 9 hours in the house. I may not be sitting on the couch paying attention to it but it’s on and it definitely distracts me when I’m working.

So my first plan was to just not turn the television on until 9 o’clock at night. That would solve everything. Except it wouldn’t. I wanted to real break from television.  Except really I didn’t want that.  But I needed it.  There are podcasts and puzzles and albums I always say I’m going to get to but I never do because if given the choice, I always choose to spend my evenings with my best friends. Mindy’s so funny. We have a great time together.

I started thinking about this whole television thing at the end of July and decided it was now or never. August is the perfect month for turning off the television. There’s plenty of stuff to keep me busy outside, it’s the last month of summer and when I return to television it’ll be September when shows start returning. Yes. I planned my television hiatus around television.

It is at this point that I tell everyone out there who is thinking “Geez. What a loser. I don’t even own a television and I don’t miss it at all.” to shut up. I LIKE TELEVISION. In fact I love it. Which is why I had to break up with it.

Ask my friend Jamieson. He’ll tell you. I’m constantly on the search for my new binge. He’s great for recommending things and on more than one evening I’ve texted him in a fit saying I’ve finished the latest season of whatever and he had to recommend something immediately before I did something desperate like watch Two and a Half Men.

Here is how my social experiment has gone so far.

Day 1. Here we go. A new day has begun. A televisionless era where I can rest and read and do all manner of relaxing things that don’t involve TV. By 10 p.m. I had cleaned my baseboards, organized my car trunk (including vacuuming it), made a batch of chicken broth, cleaned the kitchen top to bottom, washed my windows and developed the curious habit of singing television theme songs to anyone I encountered in my day. Which was particularly strange when the grocery store cashier asked me if was paying cash or debit.

Day 2. Work until 8 o’clock at night then sit on the couch to enjoy my new book. 8:05 fall asleep on the couch while a cat farts on my head.

Day 3. Still extremely tired without my daily television stimulation. Consider writing a 22 minute play and forcing my neighbours to act it out for me.

Day 4. Clean, sweep, organize and primp my front porch until 10:30 at night. Sit on the couch to enjoy my new book. Fall asleep immediately. Cat farts on my neck.

Day 5. Make it to my nephew’s baseball game to put in time that doesn’t involve me working. Liked it. Went again the next night.

Day 6. Listen to This American Life podcasts. Realize I love them in a way I couldn’t when television was always on the back of my mind.

Day 7. Spent the whole night working on a new pop up for my site which I’ve wanted to do for ages but never got around to.  Again.  Working.

Day 8. Finally managed to clean my basement enough that I can screen print some Art of Doing Stuff tea towels.  So that’d be …. more work.  No relaxing.  Just work.  Although my work relaxes me so I’m getting confused about relaxing really is.  Or maybe I’m one of the few people who loses brain cells by NOT watching television.  Either way I’m feeling very unwell.

Day 9. Help elderly neighbour cross the street. Deliver food to the food bank. Birds sing, rainbows bend and kittens in baskets appear on everyone’s doorstep. All is right with the world and it’s all because I gave up television for a month.

I’m now on Day 21 of my television hiatus and I hate it but I’m committed to doing it and it really has been a good thing. So to Bikram Yoga niece who proclaimed “Why?! That’s STUPID! You’ll never be able to do it.”, when I told her about my plan, I have this to say. You’re right. And it is. But I will do it.

Because I have the kind of relentless commitment normally only seen in high performance athletes.  Or someone who has binge watched all 3 seasons of a specialty channel produced drama in one single Sunday.




93 Comments

  1. Cynthia Jones says:

    Does ‘not watching television’ include not watching movies? If so, that’s just unreasonable.

    I think downloaded series dont count as television either. I am currently up to the reunion show of Real Housewives of New York.

    I just love them, it makes me feel so normal. I have one more RH of Orange County to go. They’re even better.

    I was thinking of you yesterday as I trimmed my dog’s butthole with my red rocket trimmer. Isn’t it nice to be connected?

    • Karen says:

      No shows, no movies, no downloading, no nothin’. I don’t even listen to music on my television cause that just seems dangerous. And yes. I’m glad we could bond over an asshole. ~ karen!

  2. Mel says:

    I love this! We took a tv hiatus earlier this summer. We were away camping for 10 days or so, and it was so good and so restful that I encouraged my dear tv addicted hubby to continue the break for another two weeks. It lasted closer to five weeks. We had realized there were a lot of shows in our hulu queue that we felt we needed to watch, but we weren’t actually looking forward to watching. It was a very good purge. And now we selectively turn it on, but sometimes realize we aren’t in the mood, and turn it right back off. Ahhhh.

    I’m glad you’re noticing how different it is to be on ‘break!’

  3. Pati Gulat says:

    Good for you !! I went without TV for a whole YEAR one time when I threatened to sell it cos my kids made bad grades with increasing frequency. It was awesome ! I read and crafted and bought another one after the kids started making better grades ! Lol ! But not took til the next school year. AAAAARGH ! LOL

  4. Tracie says:

    Good for you Karen! I am left with two things from this post. One, I’ve been wondering when you’ll be posting about your new fave tv shows. I’ve been thinking about House of Cards…Second, I was wondering if I have ever cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom. Oh ya, I don’t expect you to ever really relax either. Work seems to be that for you. I wish…

  5. Jamieson says:

    I can indeed vouch for pre-August Karen’s litany of demands for television recommendations. I have accordingly developed an extremely specialized – and, at present, disused – talent.
    PS My basket of kittens arrived on day 17, thanks!

  6. Lynn says:

    I have to say bravo ? you can do it I believe in your spirit. TV is a villain of time management, or a great procrastination excuse which ever you prefer. Some use TV others use social networks both are evil in that they creep in an take over our lives . We all need to unplug every once in awhile I think just to regain our sanity. I do it twice a year an call it my ( recharge time) . Kind of like daylight savings comes twice a year .

  7. IRS says:

    I think it’s enough to just cut out the daytime crap. Shows like “The View” are time and brain cell suckers. Do you really care what a bunch of D-list celebrities think about anything? Ditto for any show that involves the DNA testing of babies to see which of the dozens of creeps the kid’s bimbo mommy slept with will be sued for child support. Maury Povich is evil. It’s good to use the TV to keep an eye on the news, and a few hours of prime time evening shows are not so bad, especially since by then, most of us are too pooped to do much else. I for one don’t bother with most of the late night talk shows, although I will at least check out Stephen Colbert when he starts. I am still in deep mourning over the end of Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show”. I can’t believe that putz packed it in. The man directs one movie, and all of a sudden he thinks he’s Cecil B. DeMille. I hear that he is about to host a wrestling special. Wrestling! What a putz.

  8. Kristy says:

    No. Just no… can’t do it. I know that sounds pathetic, but television is my constant companion when my husband is out of the country working. Without tv I would go insane(r). Bravo to you… or maybe no Bravo to you since you aren’t watching tv and can’t watch Bravo… but you know what I mean. 🙂

  9. Dominic says:

    My wife & kids went out of town two different times this summer, for a week each time, and I didn’t turn the tv on once while they were gone. Once they got home, I started paying attention to how often I turn it on, and it turns out that I don’t. There are shows that my wife and I watch together, but none of them are on right now. My satellite radio is a totally different story.

  10. Laurie says:

    I understand the love of TV. My addiction with grandfathered in from both my parents and grandfolks. But I chose to give up TV 10 years ago.
    I truly miss some things but I have found myself a lot happier not hearing all the bad news and mediocre shows. I found I could watch a couple episodes on my PC and not be so attached to sitting every night in the same place.
    I read, listen to music, garden, and admit I Pinterest a lot. I am sometimes jealous of you folks still on TV but then smile, stretch and see what I can find to do. Blessings All and Happy Watching

  11. mia pratt says:

    Wow, you’re really handling this well! You rock<:}
    I've done this before but sadly, like a trip to the islands, the high wore away eventually (after all drawers were clean, closets organized, spices lined up with all labels facing the front…) and I found myself sucked right back into my old self. If only I could keep that enlightened, fastidious self alive for more than just a month! Sadly, I can't – it's like shaving my legs for a boyfriend. After a month, it's down to twice a week, then twice a month, and then…I'm single again. Sigh.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well, this experiment wouldn’t have gone nearly as well if I’d done it in any other month. This was the time to do it. I’ve noticed the only time I wish I could watch television is around 10 o’clock at night. So that might be the magic hour for me when I get back onto it on September 1st. ~ karen!

  12. Grammy says:

    When I retired 12 years ago I thought it would be really fun to be able to see daytime TV. I checked out several shows I thought would be good. After two weeks I realized I had not missed a single thing during my working life. At least not a single thing on TV. So the TV is never turned on before the news at 5 p.m.

    Dinner comes in between news and The Big Bang theory reruns, which both my husband and I enjoy watching again. Then, it depends on whether there’s a program we want to see. If so we watch with no shame at all, if there’s not we either turn it off (if there’s nothing later in the evening, either) or put it on mute (if something we want to see will be on soon).

    Since Dave and Jon have forsaken us at late night I often don’t watch anything after the later news, except occasionally Jimmy Kimmel if he’s got a guest I like. I’ll most likely watch Colbert when he starts. This is a major change for me, because I used to have to decide who to watch and who to record between Letterman, Stewart, Colbert, Ferguson, and Kimmel. I either go to bed earlier or do more reading now.

    I can’t imagine not watching at all for a whole month. Maybe you didn’t think this through. But probably your house and yard are a thousand times cleaner than mine, so there’s that. I can’t wait till Lomgmire is on again.

    • BethH says:

      Grammy, Longmire is one of the few shows we love but sadly it will not be coming back to regular old TV. It will be on Netflix this fall for 10 episodes. I’m afraid to try Netflix because all our TVs are thirty years old and they don’t respond well to hooking up with anything new. And, because Netflix will soon be raising their rates. And because I’m afraid it will become just another automatic monthly expense that I don’t get much value from. I hate technology and it hates me right back. Can anyone explain Pintrest to me? I don’t get it. If I see something on the net I want to revisit I just add the site to my browser favorites. Why should I want to see what a bunch of strangers “pin”? I want to like it, I really do, but I just don’t get the (pin)point.

      • Karen says:

        BethH – I don’t go on Pinterest a ton, but what I do think it’s great for is inspirational images. So for instance, if you want to paint your house exterior white, you can type “white houses” into Pinterest’s search bar and all beautiful (Pinterest worthy) white houses will come up. It’s a much stronger collection than you’d ever find on Google or Google images. ~ karen!

        • BethH says:

          Thank you, Karen. That gives me a new perspective on how to use Pintrest, and I might find it to be useful.

        • ronda says:

          or you could search for garden lighting. Found a certain glass ball with Christmas lights there not too long ago!

      • Grammy says:

        I don’t do Pinterest, either, for the same reasons you don’t. Others love it. I’m okay with that. I also don’t do Twitter. The Internet is a world of all different kinds of things for all different kinds of people, pretty much like the real world.

        As for Netflix, I tried it years ago on a free trial and decided it had nothing of interest to me — all the movies were either not my kind or, if they were, I already owned them or had seen them plenty. Then a grandkid came along and it turned out that nearly everything important to him is available on Netflix, and it’s cheaper to pay the monthly fee than rent or buy all this kiddy programming. Now, Netflix has gotten good at providing things I actually want to watch — original programming that is better than a lot of stuff on broadcast or basic cable networks. Frankie and Grace. House of Cards. Longmire. A better selection of movies. If they still do free trial periods, why don’t you wait till Longmire starts and sign up for the trial? You might find they’ve got things that make it worth your while. And if you only have an old TV, you can still watch Netflix on your computer.

        • BethH says:

          Thank you, Grammy! Excellent idea to sign up for a free trial when Longmire comes around! I appreciate your sharing your experience with Netflix and giving me some food for thought.

      • m'liss says:

        I use pinterest for storing favorite recipes, gardening, books, diy, gift ideas, natural cleaner recipes, etc. Just an organizer. I think it’s easier to find things than in browser favorites. I don’t bother with other people’s pins.

    • Karen says:

      Well, no, I definitely didn’t think this through! ~ karen

  13. jan says:

    2 years ago when I got separated, in a panicked rush to slash expenses, I dropped satellite TV. Yes could have done some Hulu or Netflix, but would have needed help figuring it all out. Realized some time ago that I can actually afford to get it back ,but just haven’t bothered. Don’t know if I ever will now. Reading some great books, got a library card, go to the movie theater (loving! my senior discount!), listen to more NPR, and can see pretty much anything I want on this here laptop! Comedy Central has been generous with my Jon and Stephen fixes. Unfortunately my house isn’t any cleaner! Anybody want a really nice TV?

  14. I’m one of the annoying people that don’t have a TV, but you will tear my radio out of my cold dead hands, I love the BBC!

  15. Lynn says:

    I admire your commitment – well done! September 1 will be here soon enough.

  16. Sandra Lea says:

    I used to do this with my kids when they were young, the whole month of May we would not watch television and it was great. You think you will miss it but you don’t. It’s a bad habit and it is amazing how much time is wasted watching tv. People talk about how busy they are, there’s no time do get things done, but if you calculate how much of that time is wasted watching tv you would be surprised.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah … no … I definitely miss television, lol. But only at around 10 o’clock at night. But I for sure don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. ~ karen!

  17. Ann says:

    During the summer I am outside so late most nights that I rarely thought to bother with the TV. Then one day I realized it was already December and I had yet to really turn it on and start watching anything. Then it turned into 2 years of not bothering with TV.

    But then I started watching Netflix and found that it suited me much more to watch an episode or 2 of a show each night til I see all that is available. I remember what is going on so much better than then when I have to wait a week in between episodes. And there is so much on Netflix that if something doesn’t grab me right away, I just move on to something else. I also love not having a big TV taking up room in the livingroom. I can watch Netflix on my laptop or even use my tablet to watch in bed before I go to sleep. The entire television experience has changed dramatically in the last few years and the industry just better figure out how to work with us and not against us.

    • IRS says:

      You are so right Ann. I keep meaning to get Netflix. The only thing stopping me is that, due to licensing restrictions, Netflix here in Canada gives us about 10% of the content that Americans get. Do we pay 10% of the US cost? *rolls on the floor cackling hysterically, gets up, changes underwear, and continues* Hell no! We are made to pay the same as Americans do. I know I can spoof my IP address to make the system think I am in the US, and therefore get everything that people in the US do, but I have heard that Netflix is aware of this trick, and might be trying to stop it. I’m not sure if they are technologically able to do that, so I will have to check. The reason that I would much prefer Netflix to regular TV is that I travel a lot, and I hate watching episodes of a show out of order. For some series, that’s just my OCD acting up, but there are series that really must be watched in order, or else you don’t know what the hell is going on. When I am home, I still love my big TV, but these days you can run shows to your TV from your tablet or laptop.

      • IRS says:

        I should ask the readers here who have Netflix, if current seasons of major network and cable network shows are available. Or is it just past seasons? Here in Canada, Bell recently introduced Crave TV, which is their version of Netflix, but it is mediocre. An awful lot of shows are not available at all, and those that are, have limited episodes available. Very, very few series have all the seasons on the service. And what about Hulu? Is it better or worse than Netflix? Is Hulu worth getting?

      • Lauren from Winnipeg says:

        IRS – you can subscribe to a site that unblocks other countries. It provides you with a different DNS. Unlocator is good and they give a free one week trial. No cc info required, just your email. I think it’s $6 a month if you wish to subscribe. Some awesome shows from Sweden, Denmark, and France if you don’t mind subtitles (although they all have a long list of shows from UK and USA) Not to mention all the UK shows. You basically get access to all the countries that have Netflix.

  18. Mike says:

    I agree with Ann. I used to be a cable TV watcher, but now with Netflix, I can watch whenever or wherever I desire. And if I choose not to watch for awhile, no worries, I can just come back to it later. Haven’t missed anything. Plus, no commercials!!!! I control the TV. I like that. I use a Roku streaming stick for connecting to the internet for my actual TV if I don’t want to watch with my laptop or tablet. It is the greatest. Now I may go days or weeks without watching OR may decide to do a weekend blast. My choice of what and when to watch.

  19. Myra says:

    When I was 11, my parents offered my 7 year old brother and 5 year old sister and I a deal. If we would agree to give up our TV for a year they would give us each $500. To us, this might have been a million dollars. It was the middle of the Gulf War and my parents were sick of the coverage, and sick of the way TV in general was sucking us all in. We took the bait. For my parents, I assume most of the $1500 was probably saved by cancelling our cable.

    So for the first month or so, it was really hard. Then it suddenly started to get easier. Pretty soon we forgot all about the TV. In that year we started to do so many things we had never done before – both together as a family and individually. After the year was over, my parents delivered on the $500 each promise, with the caveat that we couldn’t use it to buy a TV (haha, clever).

    We asked from time to time about reinstating the TV but (much to our benefit, I believe), it never came back. Now I’m 34 and have never owned a television. From time to time I watch something on Netflix, but in general, I think I’ve made better use of my time and been more present in my life without it. I feel grateful that the difficult part of this shift happened when I was only 11 and I didn’t have to try to convince my adult self of the benefits. I think that would be tough.

    Lately, I’ve been giving thought to the time sucked from my life by the Internet. I have a seven month old baby, and being present for these fleeting moments in my life has taken on a whole new importance, even beyond what I could have imagined. I don’t think I’ll get rid of the Internet, but I want to somehow get rid of the hold it has over me, and the way I gravitate toward it to check every little thing, or to “relax” a bit when I have a few minutes. What am I missing in my real life when I’m mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed for the 10th time in a day? I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope I’ll figure it out soon. Suggestions are welcomed 🙂 In any case Karen, maybe you’ll decide you don’t want your TV back after all? Good luck with the rest of your month. If nothing else, it will probably make you more of a mindful TV watcher and leave you with many of the benefits you’ve discovered this month.

    • Karen says:

      Well I can guarantee I’ll want my television viewing back, lol. I live alone. It’s one thing to be tvless when you have other people around, it’s quite another when you’re alone. TV is my evening companion many nights. Besides, I made my living in television (as a host and writer) for 15 years so it’s kind of my thing. 😉 Oddly I rarely spend time on Pinterest or browsing the Internet and only read 2-3 blogs. ~ karen!

      • Berry says:

        Heh, living alone, it meant I could have no tv, and I loved it. I don’t dislike tv for other people, just for me. The internet and books are my equivalent to TV, and I’m pretty sure giving up either one for a month would leave me crawling the walls!

  20. Tigersmom says:

    Good for you! I have faith in your determination that you will succeed in making it all the way through. And don’t beat yourself up for working. It is more stressful for some people to do nothing than it is to be busy and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing stuff. You know you are a doer.

  21. danni says:

    I have the TV on only to listen the news in the morning while getting ready for work, and doesn’t go on again until I sit to relax anywhere from 8 to 9 at night… then an hour or two before bed.

    But I don’t work at home.

    And I have a feeling you’re like me in the sense that standing back and seeing the baseboards clean gives a deep sense of smug satisfaction. Why so smug I don’t know, but that is the feeling I get after one of those stupid, almost invisible, no one notices anyways crappy jobs is completed. “Look at ME and my clean baseboards, you filthy swine!”

  22. Elaine says:

    It would be difficult for me to give up TV news. Radio news is one line sound bits that repeat every 20 minutes. I quit home delivery newspaper due to escalating cost and poor service. I am trying to figure out how to read it online for free!

  23. Jane says:

    I never was a big tv watcher..just shows I really like. But since my husband passed away, I Have a lot more empty time to fill so tv it is after dark.And wth is Jon Stewart thinking????? Loved The Daily Show! Dislike Jimmy Fallon so will give Colbert a try in Sept. Got Netflix and sometimes watch old shows on YouTube on my smart tv….it’s way smarter than me:). News is too grim..,first 10 minutes of The Nightly News is enough and local news is only bad news now. I watch weather if it is going to be extreme..,they are annoying….can have ten days of perfect weather coming but they focus on when the next big storm is coming. And always wrong, too. I bitch about tv but I’m not as strong as you. And I will never be able to give up my ipad…totally addicted:(. Stay strong! August will be over before ya know it.

  24. Amber says:

    The best way to stop watching tv? Get a puppy!
    For a long time I couldn’t afford TV (hello American health care) and I never regained the habit. It is odd to go out with friends and listen to their intense relationships with people they’ve never met in shows I’ve never seen. I binge the occasional Netflix, but mostly I forget that I can.

  25. Ev Wilcox says:

    Miss Jon and Colbert a bunch! Will be checking out the new Colbert show, though I really like Jimmy Fallon. Turning off TV not a biggie for me, but really like the white noise of it whilst I sew and serge. Daytime TV is pretty much only Netflix here, or a DVD. But missing the 6:30 News with Lester Holt is awful! I hate when I miss that, and would not willingly give it up. If OZ and Phil left the planet to go back home, I would not mind at all! When you “turn on and tune in” in September I hope you let us know how it goes!

  26. Flossie Hosier says:

    We ditched our Dish connection last month. Too expensive for the amount of TV viewing we do. Now we have a digital antennae connected to one TV. Who knew you need one for EACH TV??? Now we receive few local and national channels, PBS, and some random Lassie movies. Watching TV is now a bit like playing the lottery. Some days most channels (except the Lassie movie channel-go figure) come in with streaked, geometrically pieced images, so we just turn it off and pick up the NYTimes. So, sounds like we’ve basically given up TV until we get desperate and look into getting a stronger antenna.

  27. Actually, I could give up television with little trouble. Now, my books – Kindle and Audible – ohh helllllllllllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzzzz no!

  28. When we moved into Storybook Cottage almost a year ago we decided to not get cable tv. This basically means we have four channels. (Oh the horror!) I generally watch PBS on Sunday nights. Last night I watched “The Theory of Everything” that I rented. I’m not sure if this choice has made me a better person, but I am a more productive person. I also sort of relish that I no longer have to deal with political campaign ads and other such nonsense. Hang in there. It gets easier.

    • Karen says:

      O.K., well if you have PBS then you’re doing O.K. That’s Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, great documentaries … My problem is that I work too much and getting rid of television is just make me work even MORE, lol. I clearly didn’t think this through. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      P.S. When I told my friend I was going without television for a month he said, “AH. You’re going full-on Laura Ingalls.” ~ karen!

  29. Kitten Caboodle says:

    I have a suggestion: have you listened to the “Serial” podcast yet? It was produced by This American Life and ‘aired’ late last year. Everyone was talking about it but, for some reason, I’d promptly forget about it. Jump to this summer when I was wondering if I could listen to a podcast while I climbed stairs. (It’s hard to find motivating music that keeps pace with the rate I climb stairs – slow and steady wins the race but the music will bore you to tears before you get there.) It wasn’t what I’d call motivating but it worked really well at distracting me from how badly climbing stairs sucks. It was addictive and maddening all at the same time. It should at least distract you from all of the cat farts. The woman who approached Sarah Koenig (the narrator) about the subject of the Serial podcast followed up with her own podcast called “Undisclosed” that digs even deeper and provides updates. That one’s a bit more tedious – they wade really far into the minutiae – but the updates are great since season two of Serial will be an entirely new story. Give it a try if you haven’t already.

    • Karen says:

      I think I did listen to one of those Kitten Caboodle. It was a story about a doctor who replaced another doctor in a small town who was sent to jail for murdering his father. And it was GREAT. I really liked it. Maybe I’ll listen to one of those tonight if I can search it out. Thx! ~ karen

  30. Mary W says:

    The very best thing I’ve ever done for myself was quit watching the NEWS! Once I did that, I didn’t need the rest to calm down from the intensity of our daily news which is designed to be entertainment in order to get people to watch! IF it were just a quick summary of what happened today – that would still be someone else’s idea of what was important. I have chosen to decide for myself what is worth spending my time doing. So I have a few great blogs, a few YouTubes, and a lot more me time. The SCARIEST SOUND IN THE WORLD IS A TICKING CLOCK – USING WHAT WAS MINE. Karen, you stay so busy, the TV is your source of relaxation so if it works, then go for it, but if you aren’t relaxed, find a new way. I chose to watch TV when there is a hurricane coming and during the same old stupid Christmas movies in December where I still cry no matter how many times I see the same movie. I love that time – but don’t love any more so TV is off. I think its brilliant that you are trying this experiment. Now, no matter what you decide, it will be a decision not a habit. I have chosen not to watch others enjoy or destroy their lives, but instead enjoy or destroy my own. It’s liberating. Your blog is one of my choices – and so worth my time. I also love reading your comments.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mary W! And yes, I’m pretty sure I could leave this blog entirely and just leave the comment section open and it would do just fine, lol. ~ karen!

  31. Diane Amick says:

    Hi Karen….had the same problem as you – TV on while I was in the house even though I wasn’t watching and usually didn’t like whatever was on at that moment, so new rule for the entire summer was/is no TV on until dinnertime while I’m cooking and hubs is cleaning up after a day of garage/outside/whatever work (we’re supposedly retired). Much better……..

  32. shirley says:

    I haven’t had tv in almost two years. I DON’T miss it at all. I work until midnight, never turned it on in the daytime so going without it is no problemo. I keep thinking I’ll get a smart tv but keep putting it off. I notice when I go somewhere and a tv is on I wonder how can you stand to listen to this crap.

  33. Melissa in NC says:

    Good for you, Karen. We don’t have TV except for Internet TV. I don’t miss it, I wish my husband wasn’t in such a habit of turning it on. He says it’s for background noise, R I G H T. I say turn on some music. I love to listen to music, it relaxes me, it invigorates me, it makes my brain engage.

    Good luck, the count down to September is on.

  34. Karen too says:

    Oh d*mn, when I read this on my phone I thought it said three days, but 31 days that’s too much for anyone. Good luck and I hope to hear more about it.

  35. Sherr says:

    I am totally fixated on you making chicken broth and have to ask…which of your chickens did you use? I will not sleep until you reply!

  36. Teddee Grace says:

    You can do it! I’m one of those…haven’t had a television since 2010. Wasn’t planned. Had to put it in storage and when I got it out five years later it was so old I got rid of it. Now I can’t afford a new one or the cost of service. But, I have a computer thank goodness. I spend half an hour with AP News every morning while I have my coffee so I don’t feel as if I’m living in a cave. Yes, and I read myself to sleep very early a lot. I’ve been contemplating taking up spinning and weaving, maybe knitting, candle making. I think that’s what women did in the evenings before television.

  37. Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

    I can’t believe I’m the only one who is asking – Why are you digging up the neighbour’s hostas?

  38. IRS says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people here love to read. Me too. In fact, I grew up in a family of readers, and didn’t start watching TV until I was in my 30s. I find myself watching less and less of it over the years, and reading more again. I came across a really good site called bookbub.com. You sign up for free, and tell them what kind of books you like. I get a daily email (I think you can get them less often if you want) that offers me about 11 different books. Anywhere from 2 to 4 are completely free, and the rest range from $1 to about $3. I have a Kindle app on my iPad, and they get sent to that, but you can read the books through other apps as well. Each book offered is only available for a day or two, so you have to act quickly. This site is great for people on a budget, or cheap bastards like me. I highly recommend it.

  39. SunGold says:

    TV’s ads and commercials drive me crazy. I hate them so much my TV sits idle while I watch my faves on my computer-projector unit, make some popcorn and settle in for 1-10 episodes, depending on my mood and time allowance. You probably TIVO, but I found that BRAVO, CTV and CITY don’t require a subscription (sshhh! they’re watching your blog and will put an end to my free ride!).

    I do get the running soundtrack thing, though. I just put on the CBC or run podcasts through bluetooth speakers. There’s intelligent conversation and no commercials. I can tune out as I choose, or engage in a mental debate (I frequently win).

    No TV, easy peasy. Just don’t touch my laptop.

  40. kelli says:

    31 days???

    HA! Lightweight.

    Try nearly 10 YEARS. 🙂

    I feel like I haven’t missed a thing!

  41. Rondina says:

    You aren’t really enjoying all of this, so after you have accomplished the real goal now—being able to tell Pink Tool Belt that you did it—go back to your normal self. It’s not like your whole life is TV. If you put one in the community garden, we will have to do an intervention.

  42. Gigi says:

    I think I could give up TV like I could give up your blog–not! Both offer a vicarious peek into a life Different than my own. I just can’t quit you or Netflix. Goodbye Luther (Idris Elba), Orphan Black, Cummberbatch Sherlock and Hannibal? Absolutely not! Francis and Clare were hard enough to say goodbye to, but I know where they live if I need to see them again. My life is more interesting with all these characters as I would miss them and their influence on me, and what I’ve learned or admired about them. As with anything, moderation is the key. Besides, I had to give up gluten, that was killer. So enough sacrifice for a bit. Seriously, Orphan Black– you need to meet her, them. You will thank me. Or curse me. Your welcome.

    • Karen says:

      Now Gigi. Do you really think a *Canadian* television aficionado like me wouldn’t have been watching Orphan Black since day 1? Come now. ~ karen!

      • IRS says:

        Awesome show! Tatiana Maslany is so talented that it’s eerie. The guy who plays her foster brother is amazing too. I’m about a season and a half behind due to travelling, so no one tell me what happened.

  43. Jennie Lee says:

    I can’t even remember when I last had tv. It’s been 10 years or more. When I think about it, I wonder how I could ever have had time for it. I do buy dvds/blurays of things I really want to see, and watch them as a reward in the evenings, about 3 days/week. This works, for me. I seldom catch myself watching anything I don’t really like.

  44. markus says:

    Ive been t.v. free for a long time, maybe 25 years or so. I still see it when I visit with someone or at the pub or a clip of something here or there. I actually find the commercials most interesting and hilarious.
    I think i lost interst in t.v. when America got excited about electing a “B” actor to run our country.
    I’ve been dog free for about five years and before that had them since I was maybe 4 or so. Most of them were Border Collies and they are hyperactive also, kept me busy keeping them busy.
    Some of the best entertainment I can remember was watching them in action or with other dogs or people, other than of course watching that clip of you doing your wonderful Gypsy show or reading what your blog!

  45. Ruth says:

    There’s a lot of time I lose to TV… and a lot of time I lose to the interwebs. Between the golden age of TV we are currently experiencing, and the interwebs I have not picked up any of my hobbies for years. I mean YEARS. At some point, something will have to give. Because I need to make something. My soul is crying out to sew, or craft, or doodle.

    But I love stories. A compelling series, characters you know, and then know even more… it’s like crawling into a great book. So – perhaps it’s bye-bye interwebs? Hmm… must consider this.

  46. kg says:

    My life is so full that I find it difficult to make time to watch T.V. except on weekends. Plus we only get a couple channels which don’t always have anything I want to watch. During storms I would like to watch TV because it’s nicer to be indoors. However the storms disrupt the signal so we end up playing games, reading, or going to bed. Books are better anyway because you can put them down and pick them up on your schedule.

  47. Terri says:

    Gee, it’s not even lent!

  48. Kim says:

    Hi Karen, I’m intrigued by your choice to give up television. It made me think how I would feel if I had to give up reading or other things I enjoy. I’m not sure I could do it.

  49. Robbin says:

    Really love the This American Life podcasts. I got kind of hooked on them when I was binge listening to “Serial”. Soooo good.

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