Turn off the TV already!

People who have known me for a long time know that I am a bit of a workaholic.  I can’t help it.  I don’t really want to work all the time, but when people ask me to cover for them, I just can’t say no.  When my boss asks me to pick up extra shifts, I always say yes.

Up until about two years ago, it was because I was, for lack of a better term: poor.  I had done some stupid things with credit cards and money during and after college, and I was working like crazy to pay off my debt.  At the peak of my craziness, I worked full time as a barista for a certain coffee company and six shifts a week at a restaurant.  Some days I would literally work from 6 am until after midnight.  It was insane.  I didn’t have time to sleep, or hang out with friends or do much of anything.

Then one day I looked at my credit card statement and saw a beautiful thing: Outstanding Balance: $0.00!  Then I checked my bank account and there was actual, real money there – more than I owed for rent or my phone!  How did that happen?  Oh who cares?  I’m free!

A few months later, I found myself with the urge to move back to the West Coast (I was in New England at the time) and so I did.

When I arrived here, I did what was normal for me – I found myself a couple of jobs.  Five lunch shifts a week at a restaurant, and three night shifts a week at a bar.  Perfect.  Well, three shifts at the bar quickly turned into six, and the next thing I know, I’m back to working crazy long days.  This time, though, the motivation (abject poverty) just wasn’t there.  So once the busy summer tourist season was over, I quit the restaurant.

This is a big step for a workaholic like me!  I worked five days a week at the bar (one double thrown in just for fun) and life was pretty sweet.  I got a dog.  I actually had time to walk him!  I bought a sewing machine and taught myself how to make skirts and dresses.  I knitted baby blankets for my pregnant friends.  I went out with friends on my nights off!  It was great!

Then the economy tanked, and business at the bar dried up a bit.  Rather than fire someone, they cut all of us back to three shifts a week.  All of a sudden, this workaholic had four days off! In a row! Each and every week!  I’ll admit – it was a bit of a shock to the system.  My expenses are minimal (I learned how to live on practically no money when I was paying off my debt, and I’ve tried to keep things simple even though I am no longer bogged down with huge bills) so money isn’t really a problem.  I make enough in three shifts to pay my bills each month – the rent, the phone, the dog treats…  There’s even a little left over for fun stuff like beer drinking and sewing or baking supplies.

At first, I took full advantage of my new-found free time.  I took the dog for long, meandering walks whenever it was sunny outside.  I read books.  I sewed.  I knitted.  I baked cookies every week.  I tried other kitchen experiments – I made cheese, yogurt, lasagna… I bought a guitar and started teaching myself some chords.

And then laziness set in.  I discovered Hulu.com and my productivity plummeted.  I found myself sitting on the couch staring at the TV for longer and longer periods.  Some days I would only leave the apartment to walk the dog.  Sad.  Pathetic, even.

This month, the bar is gearing up for tourist season.  Next week begins my summer schedule – five shifts a week (with the possibility of picking up one or two more if things really get busy).  Suddenly my free time seems more valuable.  There’s going to be a lot less of it, after all.

So I’m trying to make good use of my free time again.  And the first step is turning off the damn television.  I just can’t pry myself away from it once it’s on!

Right now it is mocking me from across the room, as I sit on the couch with my dog curled up beside me, laptop in my lap, book at the ready nearby.  It begs to be turned on.

I will resist!  I will!

(I’ll try, anyway.)

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3 thoughts on “Turn off the TV already!

  1. It sneaks up on you, it really does! I’ve found that listening to NPR during the day helps; it’s voices, so I don’t feel lonely, but it’s something that I can tune out if I need to focus. And if you have to turn on the tv, for the love of god, don’t turn on Bravo or VH1; they suck you in!

    • My solution is usually iTunes – I need background noise! I have learned that once that TV goes on, my productivity plummets. The real problem is my complete lack of willpower.

  2. mmmm hmmmm. preach it. Anytime I take a day off of work to “get some stuff done around the house” I end up watching hours upon hours of “Bridezillas”. Or those creepy medical mystery shows.

    “Mermaid Girl”? Hells to the yes.

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