Over winter break, I had myself an “a-ha” moment.
I’ve spent a great deal of my time doing absolutely nothing significant. I binge watched television shows even before the term “binge watching” was coined. I would rent the season DVDs from the library or simply watch the daylong showings of certain programs. Then, I progressed to DVR recordings and, naturally, to the depths of Netflix.
I have seen numerous television shows over the years. Even though I’m fairly certain that I’ve seen every episode of every Disney Channel show that aired in the early 2000s, I can say with complete confidence that I have watched the following shows, start to finish.
All in all, it amounts to five days and one hour of “Gossip Girl,” four days and 18 hours of “90210,” two days and 14 hours of “Breaking Bad,” one day and 16 hours of “Orange Is The New Black,” one day and 8 hours of “Orphan Black,” four days and three hours of “The Office,” five days and 23 hours of “The Vampire Diaries” and three days and 6 hours of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Eventually I will reach an overwhelming 10 days and 20 hours of “Grey’s,” but unfortunately my studies have put my rigorous watching schedule on hold.
In other words, I have “wasted” almost an entire month of my life watching these programs, and if I were capable of calculating and including all the live television I’ve watched, my estimation would be more like half a year. The craziest thing is, I never thought of myself as an avid television lover, and to be completely honest, I still don’t feel like I watch an obscene amount of TV.
The reason I put quotations around wasted is because I don’t find it to be a complete waste of my time. For other people it may be, but I don’t consider it a problem or waste if I simultaneously learn, relax and get personal enjoyment by doing so.
I’m a strong believer in the power of purpose and passion in everything you do; you should never do something without a greater goal in mind. By thinking to myself, “What is it exactly that I’m accomplishing by doing x, y and z?” I have curbed a great deal of impulsive decision making in my old age.
A personal example: My neighbor and lifelong friend is a Brad Paisley fanatic. She’s followed him around the country, seen countless concerts (24) and spent nearly $1,500 in doing so. At two concerts, Paisley took my friend’s phone on two occasions (resulting in a selfie and video), gave her a guitar pick after addressing her by name, allowed her to be included in the “Perfect Storm” music video, and he tweeted her at least 20 times. So basically, she’s achieved every fan girl’s dream.
It drives her dad absolutely insane, and I used to agree with him. It was difficult for me to wrap my mind around what she could possibly be gaining from this addiction to, of all people, a country singer? (Sorry, Kelli.)
But then, I thought of the bigger picture. It’s her thing. There may not be a visible, tangible goal at the end of the day, but it’s a stress reliever and source of happiness, which is arguably just as important as all of the actual work you do. If you were to erase all the little pleasures of life, a person would burn out.
One simply cannot be committed to all work and no play. You know what you call those people? Losers. Boring, lifeless freaks of nature.
When I’m watching movie marathons or episode after episode of my favorite television series, I am not numbly doing so. I am an active participant in the endeavor, and learn everything from comedic presentation to what not to do. I become so immersed that by the end of the series, I feel as if the characters are friends of mine, and I know every waking detail about their fictitious lives.
I’d shave off another year of my life in a heartbeat if it gave me the same amount of bliss and provided me with even more direction for achieving my lifelong goal of becoming a screenplay writer, a comedian or even a director.
It’s not a waste; it’s a win.