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The Challenge.

Submitted by Elizabeth Harris on March 28, 2010 – 5:19 pmComments

I am debating taking on a challenge for myself.  I say debating because this will be a very difficult challenge and I’m not quite sure that I really want to do it.  I’m about to turn 25 years old and I’m not satisfied with my life.  My solution to this is to tweak certain parts of my life- in the hopes that these small changes will cause a grander positive effect.

The first step is giving up television.  I’m going to start by giving it up for a year as an experiment to see if I can do it- and to see if it’s beneficial.  I can’t commit to giving it up for life because I love that damn box too much.  I grew up an only child- my mother didn’t have my brother until I was 12 and because I was very responsible I was allowed to start going home alone after school in second grade.  My addiction began then.  I have always been able to multi-task so I began watching TV while doing my homework but I kept the TV on for more than just entertainment- it was lonely coming home alone.  Even now, I cannot be home alone without a television going in one of the rooms of the house- it’s too quiet and I need the voices.

A while back I started a similar experiment that was in response to the literature that I had been forced to read in high school and continuing into my college years as an English major.  I decided for one year to only read female authors.  Obviously some concessions had to be made or I wouldn’t have graduated, but all pleasure reading and reading that I had any influence over choosing was written by women.  It was amazing!  I had to really search out and find what I wanted to read- I couldn’t just pick up a book on the first table in Barnes and Noble (which by the way, is so littered with chick-lit these days that people have begun to wonder if women are capable of writing anything but).  A while later I realized that my research into female authors shaped and influenced my degree substantially.  My friends jokingly reminded me- at what I thought was the closing year of my experiment that actually it had been three years that I had been telling people, “I’m only reading female authors right now, but thanks for the recommendation.

Obviously my new experiment is somewhat linked with the old one.  I’m frustrated by how much time I waste watching TV when I could and should be reading.  I’m back to reading from both sides of gender pool and I see the stack of books next to my bedside table growing instead of shrinking; a situation which is due to the fact that I am addicted to buying books (I find that I am extremely attracted to covers of books with different colors at different points of the day and year…p.s yes I know it’s weird that I know that) and that lately I find myself reaching for the remote instead.

Now, to the terms of my agreement…with myself.  If I take on this challenge and I can no longer watch television-I may have to put a clause in this contract to exclude “Glee” from this ban- the show is, after all, more of a musical right?  The other little tweak that I may have to make is that the only time that television watching is allowed is at the gym.  I have no control over those TVs and watching the news for 45 min while running is actually beneficial- just as much as reading is (I will put a giant asterisk here as yesterday my run was completely consumed by watching a horse “Colorado” be air-rescued from a sand bar.  Despite needing therapy because horses don’t typically like being dangled, blindfolded from a helicopter- he seems fine.)   I would also like to add to the challenge that I can only watch movies when I am with friends and no more than one a week.

I know the benefits to this new lifestyle seem obvious but I need to talk myself through them a little.  If I take this challenge I will read more, which I like.  If the only way to see my old friends in the box is to go to the gym I will be getting more fit while still adhering to my goal.  If I only watch movies with my friends I will be more social and less like a recluse- choosing to stay in to see what new horrible reality show I can get myself addicted to (Kendra, Pretty Wild, RuPaul’s Drag Queen Competition…. need I say more?)  I’m hoping that this change- small to some but large to me- will cause a ripple effect in my life and perhaps as the year 26 approaches I will feel more like celebrating instead of anticipating swimming in a tequila bottle when the clock strikes midnight.

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  • Kimmy5785
    Ohh Elizabeth! I am having this same situation (I turn 25 in May and find that some of my goals for pre-the-quarter-century-mark have escaped me...but am having trouble with the idea of cutting out tv completely because I find it so relaxing to check out and tune in at the end of an 18 hour day of hard work. It is such a challenge to give up the boob tube, but I have decided to cancel my cable at this point...which should at least cut back the choices of which Law & Order marathon version to watch and may help a bit.
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