There's a general assumption, that when you come to a certain age in your life you buckle down to work. Your time is spent with friends, networking, going to school and growing into adulthood. Leisure time slips away and finds itself at the waist side; such a contrast to the after-school games of growing up.
How we prioritize our time can be one of the most pivotal decision-making factors you can make towards your future. That's why during my four year Fine Arts degree - instead of putting all my energy into my work (reading essays and doing research), I watched countless hours of Netflix's, and I really do mean countless.
And what I watched wasn't all that good either.
Of course, there were times that I would dive into well-constructed TV series or movie, but to be truthfully honest and in total shame I do admit to watching a TON of 'bad' television. I prefer 'bad' television. I can sit for hours and hours watching sitcoms that didn't even make it to midseason before the shows were shut down for not getting enough interest. I even defended to my teachers that watching all of the films from the Bring It On series was a big part of my study of social constructs. I think that I even had myself convinced that it was helping me, at least for a while.
Am I the only person who's guilty of this? Kourtney and Khloe take Miami didn't have all that many plot twists so why was I so enamored? If I had chosen to use my time more wisely - where would I be now? Do I even deserve to have a degree? How did I manage that while watching all of Degrassi (Original through to Next Class)?
I think that whether or not bad Netflix is your thing, we all have something that can be called a guilty pleasure. And I'm not here to defend my abuse of my parents Netflix accounts, I know that there is a reason that it falls into the category of guilt.
Guilt is a description of an emotion, or rather - discernment within you of your own morals and or societies morals. Guilt can be the voice inside of you telling you that your choices aren't healthy and that they are not life bringing. I find that when people talk about having 'guilty pleasures,' they typically shrug them off or laugh about them. But there's a reason that they make you feel guilty! They aren't healthy, and honestly, it's the smallest paper cuts that can hurt you the most.
So whether your guilty pleasure is sleeping in on mornings where you know that you could be using your time more wisely, or spending an additional amount of cash over the top of your own budget, you need to pay attention to guilt and not let it run its course in your life. Don't let it master you. I'm not giving up bad television. I think I tried giving up Netflix for a month, but let's be real here. It's okay to give in once and a while,(the key: ONCE in a while) as long as what you are receiving pleasure from isn't controlling you. I've made a list of ways to compensate for your guilty pleasure. These are things that I have done at times when I am overdoing it.
1. Physical Activity - It's true what they say, that physical activity changes your life. During my undergrad, I didn't feel like I had much time to go to the gym or to get outside (especially because it's freezing where I'm from). I reached a point though where I felt comfortable sitting in front of my television days on end, and my body was feeling overly exhausted from not being active. I started watching television shows where the protagonist started as a rookie in some regard and then through lots of training came out on top. Step Up is my ultimate go-to movie - as for bad tv, Dance Academy will suffice. I would be inspired by these stories and ended up enrolling in a few dance classes. As my journey in dance has progressed I can say for certain that my body and mind have never felt better.
2. Reading a book - I don't know about you guys but all this blue light before my head hits the sheets is really controversial to my brain. My head can't seem to settle down and sleep never comes easy. I downloaded this program called Flux on my computer which changes the LCD temperature to a soft warm tone which gets dimmer the longer you work on your computer at night. However, even with this amazing program, nothing is as soothing as reading a book before bed. I'm guilty of not being the best at this - but I'm working to improve. I know that reading is one of the best ways to expand your education and it's also really good mental stimulation. Try reading one book a month, and I can guarantee you're going to have to spend some of that free time you're in front of your television with your nose the books.
3. Listen to a speaker - I love that the internet has so many things you can spend your time with, but I truly think that one of the most undermined forms of entertainment are podcasts. I try to discipline myself to listen to a podcast at least once a week, especially with speakers who deal with topics of well-being and health. Similar to books, podcasts are amazing ways of learning about the world as well as challenging yourself. If you don't know where to start, This American Life, Radiolab, and the speaker Caroline Leaf are some of my personal favorite go-to programs. I also listen to a ton of different sermons and Ted Talks to educated myself on different world-views.
4. Create something you're scared of creating - Honestly if you have the time to sit and watch 9 seasons of How I Met Your Mother while balancing school, a part-time job, and all that goes along with life, then you have the privilege of cutting out a little tv time to start working your way toward your dream job, or even just to start creating that song that you've always been inspired to write. I meet a lot of people who complain about not being talented in their desired pursuit. For the most part, these people tend to desire the dream but are unable to put in the hours to get to where they want to be. Create something you're scared of creating, put yourself out there and know that the journey IS the destination. You're the only one in control of your life, so stop wasting your time in front of the television and start something, even if it's small. You never know what you can do until you try. Pay attention to where you feel guilty, even if you typically would shrug it off. Those spaces can be transformed into a feeling of fulfillment if only you allow yourself to be less comfortable.
I hope that this article has inspired you to maybe spend a little less time invested in your television and start spending a bit more time on yourself and your well-being.