zen habits : breathe

A Month Without TV or Video

‘I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.’ ~Groucho Marx

By Leo Babauta

Of all the challenges I’ve done for The Year of Living Without, going without TV/video has been the one with the most mixed feelings for me.

One side of me: I all of a sudden had more free time, to read, write, do whatever I wanted without distraction. I enjoyed being free of TV and movies.

But the other side: I couldn’t hang out with my family when they watched TV. Which they tend to want to do every night, for an hour or two. I honestly didn’t want to watch the TV shows with them (we don’t have cable, but watch shows we pick on iTunes), but when they watched, I was isolated. This wasn’t always great.

I could have asked them to not watch TV, to join me, and some nights I did. I enjoyed those nights. We would hang out and talk, instead of staring at moving images. But I didn’t want to force them to go without something just because I wanted to experiment with it myself, so I tried to allow them to watch, most of the time. So I would go to my room and read.

And so the results are mixed.

Here are my findings after a month of no TV and video:

So what will I do going forward? Here are my thoughts:

  1. I’m not going to watch online videos unless it’s to learn something useful (no entertainment videos).
  2. Only one movie at the theaters per month, so I’ll have to be more choosy.
  3. Propose board games or other activities with the kids in the evening, instead of TV.
  4. I’ll allow myself 2 hours of TV a week. So 1 hour, twice a week. No reruns.

A Month Without Sugar

In October, I’m going without sugar all month.

I actually don’t eat a lot of sugar these days. When I first set out on this challenge, I was eating more sugar than I am now, so it seemed like a hard thing to do. I don’t think it’ll be too hard, except for a couple things:

  1. Eva & I are traveling through Europe for the first part of this month, so I can’t eat any desserts on our travel. Tasting yummy vegan foods as we travel is a tradition, so I’ll be breaking that.
  2. My son Justin’s birthday is at the end of the month. We usually do pancakes or waffles or French toast for their birthday breakfasts, and birthday cake later in the day, so I’ll be skipping out on that stuff.

It’ll be a bit of a challenge, but I think I’ll be OK. Wish me luck!



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