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Oh, the many hours I spent slumped on the couch, watching brainless television. So many days of my life I will never get back. These days, I think TV’s are mostly noise: distractions from living your full potential. I traded my TV for expanding my creativity, embracing playfulness in my life and exploring new passions. You can do the same.

On average, American youth watches 1200 hours of television per year. Compare that to the 900 hours per year they spend in school [source]. In the Netherlands, TV time is ‘only’ about half the time, which comes down to two and a half hours a day [source]. Still, that is a crazy amount of time! You honestly aren’t allowed to say that you ‘don’t have time’ to make things happen, when you are spending the equivalent of 9 years of your life staring at a box.

But you like watching TV. It’s relaxing. It’s fun. It’s easy. It clearly must bring you some kind of value; otherwise you wouldn’t spend so much time doing it. My theory: watching TV is a habit that tries to fill a void.
You want to be happy and live a good life. This life is presented to you in the form of romantic comedies, people getting their dream house, or simply because some people out there are so crazy you feel slightly more normal yourself.
Every time you are sad, anxious or bored, you end up watching TV, because it’s the way you deal with things. You might temporarily shut up a nagging feeling of discomfort by watching something semi-satisfying. But these are substitutes for the real thing! Why not do something actually fulfilling and satisfying instead?

“But I need a TV to watch the news” No you don’t. How do you think you are reading the words I wrote here? It’s called the Internet. Now, I’m not saying you should trade all your TV time for Internet time. What I am saying is that how you spend your time, better be a conscious decision than watching something crappy ‘because it was the best thing that was on’. If you do watch a movie, a documentary or TED-talk, do it because you think it will inspire you, teach you something, because you would like to invest your time in it. Don’t do it to numb your feelings or simply to make the time pass.

If TV is one of your big habits, throwing it out might be a bridge too far. But why not take up a less radical challenge: a week without television, or perhaps a month. Decide to use your sudden extra time on a project you have been dying to take up, but never seem to find the time for. Write a book, make travel plans, hang out with your friends, make art, learn to cook a new dish, to play an instrument, discover a new passion, read a booklist, go for a walk, learn a new language, do something!

When you look back in 10 or 20 years, will you feel regret for those replays of shows you didn’t watch? No. Will you wish you had spent more time doing something worthwhile, something you love, and something worth striving for? That’s up to you.

Living passionately is in your reach, but it starts with your everyday choices on how you spend your time.


  • Reply


    January 18, 2014 at 16:34

    Oof, 9 years is way too much of life to waste watching TV! This is exactly my perspective on TV, too. I prefer to make my own adventures, rather than watch other people’s, real or fiction, but then there are a few shows I watch for inspiration. Although, I always multitask while watching TV–like, I’ll leave one of my recorded shows on while I’m doing a craft or something. Sitting still is just not for me!

    • Reply


      January 20, 2014 at 22:35

      Good for you! I do still watch some shows (and sit still while doing it haha), but they aren’t the numb, boring ‘what’s on’ type :) I like how you say you make your own adventures. That’s the way I see it too!

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    January 18, 2014 at 16:51

    I have no TV! I watch the occasional tv show on my computer. Now, there are times I should really shut down my computer and go do something else! “too many screens”, I say!

    • Reply


      January 20, 2014 at 22:38

      Me too :) It helps that I don’t have a smartphone (although, one day I may switch.. just not yet). I feel less distracted in a way than everyone around me somehow by this.. (But I still have my moments when I find myself spending half an hour watching some kind of weird random videos on youtube)

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    January 19, 2014 at 12:20

    i’ve never spent much time in front of tv. averagely i only spend 2 hours on tv per week. i never had a tv since college, only 3 months ago i got one because of work. ha.

    • Reply


      January 20, 2014 at 22:40

      Because of work? What do you do? haha. College was also the point for me. At first the reason was practical, but afterwards (also when I could take over a TV from someone else) I decided I liked life without TV. That & living without a TV for half a year in India before college.

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    January 22, 2014 at 03:19

    thanks for this post a good reminder ! I have made a new commitment to spend more time during the week making things and drawing going through my craft to do list and actually making some progress.
    I only have a few shows that are my favorites and the rest of time I want to be crafting so I can be fulfilled and accomplished and have my thoughts become tangible ideas instead of being frustrated that I never get anything done. I know I need to make it a priority, so thanks :)

    • Reply


      January 22, 2014 at 07:55

      That sounds like such a fun and exciting new commitment! Sometimes when we make new plans, they don’t work because we just assume we have extra time, while we should be cutting it down from somewhere else during our day. Doesn’t have to be TV, as long as it comes from somewhere (but I think TV is a good start)

  • Reply

    Amber Renee

    January 22, 2014 at 22:10

    This is excellent. I never watched much television and this just made me feel so much better about this decision.

    • Reply


      January 27, 2014 at 10:11

      Good! Sometimes it is nice to hear someone else say what we already know deep down ;)

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    January 28, 2014 at 02:21

    I agree with a lot of your post about mindless television and watching ‘what’s on’ because it’s on. I’m ashamed to count the amount of times I’ve watched something on the tv with ads when I own it on DVD and could quite easily get up and watch it without ads.
    But for all of that I would never get rid of my television. Not only because I’m a huge sports fan but I love the medium of television too much. For me television is second only to books and mostly for the same reason. You can spend longer with the plot , developing rich characters, and telling a story that I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams.

    A movie has certain time restrictions but they still have their place, but there’s nothing quite like watching a whole season of Orange is the New Black or Breaking Bad where you can really immerse yourself in a story.

    I’ve formed friendships over loving the same tv show, and most of my embroidery is television related in one way or another.

    I do love all your ideas Marielle but you can pry my television watching from my cold square eyes!
    beks who has a media degree and is not afraid to use it!

    • Reply


      January 28, 2014 at 08:04

      Hi Beks! Thanks for your response. I know the title of my post (well, and perhaps the rest as well) is quite provoking. I actually don’t have a problem with people living the way they want to, weather that includes television or not. I do see a lot of positive things that television can bring, and I love myself a good movie or show. That being said, my main point I guess is that very often television isn’t used in this way (in the way we sit down with a good book). In many ways it can be a crappy magazine instead that you flip trough and feel more restless about when you’re done. I just hope people make a conscious decision, not one formed out of boredom or laziness or something. I know that when I did have a television in my house, I often spent quite some time watching brainless shows (even though I was aware of the fact that they were in fact brainless). I have always been an ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl, so for me throwing my tv out was the best option. Also, I don’t watch sports, so I can see how that would affect the story as well. All in all, I just want people to live passionately and get the most out of life. If in your case that means that you prefer embroidery in front of the TV, and have a passion for sports (which is also a form of play) go for it! :) Does this clarify/nuance my point of view somewhat?

  • Reply


    February 9, 2015 at 14:29

    You are absolutly right!
    Thank you for shairng

  • Reply

    Matt John

    May 21, 2015 at 10:05

    I’ve taken the power cord out of my TV, i’m aiming for one week without it!

  • Reply


    March 25, 2018 at 19:34

    VR has ruined TV for me! Now that I can literally step into another world, interact with characters or other people, pick up objects, experience fantasy stuff that I couldn’t in real life… I just can’t go back to mindlessly staring at a flat screen! Haha


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