Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Fast & The Furious

Summer time is a wonderful time to do things. Things you normally can’t or don’t do during the other seasons. Like go to water theme parks, ride motorcycles, go camping or water jet ski.

Summer is also a great time to go fast. I’m not talking about speed. I’m talking about taking a break from something for a certain duration of time. That’s called fasting.

Some people may think it only refers to abstaining from food and drink because that is the most common use, but it can actually mean taking a break from any specific activity.

In this case, I’m referring to the big T: Television.

With all the great outdoor activities to do and all the events that take place during the summer, it’s a perfect time to allow more time for those events. After all, you can watch TV all winter long when you’re stuck inside because it’s cold and dark outside.

But during the summer- it’s the short, limited time during the year when you can really enjoy good weather and good-weather-specific hobbies and past times.

What would a fast from TV be like?

Let’s just throw ‘two weeks’ out there. Could you go two weeks without turning on your TV? You’d read the news online, get it from the newspaper and magazines or hear it on the radio. You can still use your computer, Blackberry and cell phone; surf the web, Twitter and email.

The rule is you just can’t be in the same room as a TV that is on. Not at your house. Not at a friend or family member’s house. No TV at all.

And if you want to really make this a complete fast, then you wouldn’t watch TV at a sports bar or go to a movie theater. BUT, you think that’s too much, then just abstain from TV in houses. Oh, and watching movies on your lap top is cheating.

So here is The Challenge:

• Two full weeks (starting at any day you choose) of no TV
• No TV at your house or at the house of anyone you know or visit.
• No TV or movies on yours or anyone’s lap top.
• No TV at restaurants or sports bars
• No going to the movie theater
• No Video games

How easy would it be to go 14 days without TV? If you don’t think 14 days if much of a challenge, then make it a full month.

According to recent statistics, the average American watches 151 hours of TV a month. That amounts to almost 6 ½ full days of non-stop TV watching a month and 78 full days a year!

Did you realize you might be spending a solid 2 1/2 months of every year in front of your TV? That statistic doesn’t even include TV watched outside of their own home (such as sports bars or movie theaters) or video games!

A person who watches 151 hours of TV a week- over the course of 50 years, will have spent right around 10 1/2 years of that...watching shows and commercials. That's disgusting.

And it's not just a waste of life, it's hazardous to your health. Not surprisingly, if you look at a graph of the increase of hours Americans log in front of their television sets, the increase of national obesity is scarily parallel. Coincidence? I think not.

Furthermore, America has the current dubious honor of being the fattest nation. Care to guess where we rank in TV watching? You guessed it. First.

In fact, Americas watch more than twice as much TV than most other countries. And that is nothing to be proud of.

People who become and live obese, don't live a long. They're prone to all kinds of problems. Everything from chronic back, hip and knee pain, to diabetes, breathing problems, heart failure, digestive problems and the list goes on. Medical and life insurance premiums are also higher for overweight people. Over the course of your lifetime, it's a huge financial loss.

Being more active cuts back on how much time you spend snacking and increases the number of calories you burn every day as well as improving your circulation and increasing your lung and heart performance. And a fantastic way to do that...(drum roll please)...is to turn off the TV.

How much more enjoyable and productive would your life be if you used all those hours and days of watching TV and actually DID something with them? You might discover you like reading, learn to play an instrument or get involved in some kind of organization you’d never heard of but now enthusiastically support or attend events you thought you never had time for.

And then, once you realize how much of your life you’ve wasted watching commercial trying to sell you useless crap, absorbing pointless and dumb situational comedy and over the top drama draining away your ambition and energy…you just might get furious.

That’s not to say that taking a break from TV will turn you into a tree hugging, TV smashing hippie, but it might open your eyes to what you’ve been missing. There is a whole world out there chalk full of exhilarating and thrilling things to do and see.

If you’re exhausted every day because you stayed up till 3 a.m. watching infomercials and spend all your free time T-VOings you are going to completely miss them. What a waste.

I get ticked off every time I’m stuck in a room with a TV and something stupid, obscene or depressing comes on and ruins my good Mojo. I don’t need that kind of crap bringing me down. Life is short. I don’t want to spend it watching other people get paid to pretend to be people their not and do absurdly ridiculous things or try to coax me out of my hard earned money. THAT makes me furious.

Maybe taking a break from TV will make you want to claim your precious time back too. Maybe you’ll get furious about all the years of your life you’ve lost parked in front of something that gives you nothing and deprives you of your most valuable asset- time.

Or maybe it won’t. Maybe after two weeks of skipping TV you’ll decide that zoning out in front of the boob tube 151 hours a month is the absolutely best possible way for you to spend your life.

One thing is certain though.
You’ll never know unless you give it a try.

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