Minimalism made me give up the TV (licence)
When I first started reading about Minimalism I found a recurring theme. These crazy Minimalists were getting rid of their TVs. This seemed like madness to me, and nearly made me give up on the whole idea. I mean, why would anyone get rid of their TV? And as Joey wisely said What's all their furniture pointed at? (That's a Friends reference, it's a TV show, if you got rid of your TV you might not have seen it, and that would make me sad for you.)
There were a lot of purported benefits of Minimalism I was looking forward to; less cleaning, less stress, more time for fun etc. but the watching less TV or even no TV at all was quite frankly a tad worrying. I did not want to arrive at this point. I was actively resisting it. You see I really love watching TV. I have 3 young children, and we have no family living nearby, so in those early baby and toddler years, nights spent outside of our own home were rarer than, well a person without a TV. And days spent breastfeeding babies on the sofa for hours on end were my new normal. Enter my new best friend; the TV. Or to be more precise the American TV box set.
I was hooked. The definition of a TV addict and with zero shame. I loved watching TV, lots of TV and I had no intention of giving it up for anyone, not even those crazy Minimalists I wanted to be so badly.
Then as often happens with those sneaky benefits of Minimalism, I found myself thinking about giving up the TV. How did we get here? I really couldn't tell you. The children had reached the point where they were only using streaming services to watch TV, Hubby has never been that fussed about TV and so It became glaringly obvious I was the only person using the TV subscription, and it really wasn't cheap. Our house was a bit of a fixer upper* and costs were adding up. (*and by that I mean falling down, no really, the kitchen ceiling actually fell down.) I was looking for ways to save money and the TV subscription was the glaringly obvious choice that I couldn't bring myself to think about. The saving from ditching the subscription would have been good, but add in the saving of ditching the TV licence and we're talking serious cash. It was all sounding more tempting by the pound, I mean minute.
If you'd asked me to make this choice a few years ago, pre-minimalism, I would have laughed in your face. It would have been a very decisive "No." I couldn't possibly live without all my favourite shows, I couldn't possibly be expected to wait months, or even years, to watch my beloved shows once they found their way onto Netflix or were released on DVD. That would just be crazy talk. Just think of all the online spoilers I would need to avoid. Not to mention all the withdrawal symptoms from being parted with some of my on screen BFFs. (That may well sound crazy to you, but those guys were really there for me in those early days of Motherhood.)
Maybe I'm just getting older, or TV shows are getting worse, or maybe it's because we've entered the phase of parenting that doesn't require quite so many evenings spent at home, or days spent on the sofa, but somehow it didn't feel like a sacrifice at all. It almost felt liberating.
The way I figured it, the worst thing that could happen would be that I would watch less TV. Just a few years ago I wasn't ready for the silence, the challenge, but now for some reason I was.
It's been abut 5 months now since we ditched the TV licence. So what's changed?
Well, if you are looking for Netflix or Amazon Prime recommendations then I'm your girl, i've watched everything worth watching on there. No really. But I've also read more books, and written more, got a lot more work done (kind of important when you're self employed) and I'm getting out in the evenings so much more too. I can't imagine I would have said no to fun with friends because of TV, but let's be honest when you have kids sometimes you do actively look forward to getting into your PJs of an evening and just sitting in front of the TV enjoying the fact you don't need to do anything for another human for a few hours. Maybe this isn't so alluring now there isn't an endless stream of shows available to me, but I am definitely getting out more and as a result having much more fun. And I've rediscovered music too.
I find myself of an evening sitting down in front of the TV, usually with my laptop to hand to do some photo editing, or let's be honest, to just endlessly browse social media, and instead of wondering what show or movie to put on, all I want to do is listen to that hauntingly beautiful new album I can't stop thinking about. It's been a wonderful re-discovery.
As for those shows I was worried about missing? Well the really good ones I'm mostly just waiting patiently for them to be available still, and whilst i thought i'd be out there buying the DVDs or renting them, I just haven't felt compelled to. I nearly caved when Game of Thrones came on, but i'll catch it on DVD.
TV can wait. Life; not so much.
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