I’ve been watching TV this winter. Not a lot, just occasionally. But since I don’t usually watch television, it feels like I”m spending too much time in front of it lately. We started watching PBS’s Downton Abbey on Sunday and it is great! Sort of like the old Upstairs, Downstairs, which I used to love. That was back when I was a television addict.
Seriously…I was! Here’s a confession that I’ve never made publicly before: At the height of my TV addiction, I was also at the highest weight I’ve ever been. Son was in kindergarten then, and I used to drive him to school. Every day, on the way home, I’d stop at Pizza Hut for a double order of garlic bread supreme (that’s 8 slices, FYI) and then hit the convenience store for a 2 liter of Coke and 4 Hostess cupcakes or DingDongs–either worked just fine. Then I’d turn on the TV and spend the next three and half hours watching daytime dramas and stuffing my face. It wasn’t pretty.
When I finally got disgusted enough with myself, I went cold turkey on everything—the garlic bread, the cupcakes, the Coke, and the TV. I lost 90 pounds, bought a horse, and found a new addiction. That was 25 years ago. My life has changed dramatically since then. I started a new career as a freelance editor/proofreader, rode trail with my critters, and started swimming with the nuns every week along with my friend and neighbor. But I still never watched television except for the weather and news. I thought life had settled in nicely, but then Son grew up, got married, and moved very far away.
The horse thing lost its appeal when I realized that 1. My hip and knee arthritis hurt for days after riding for a few hours, and 2. their board and care expenses were eating up the money I needed for plane fare to get to my kid. So, more changes—we sold the horses and all their equipment and started flying to see Son a few times a year. My business grew, I added new skills and learned how to market them, and we began a fight with the state over widening our road. But I maintained my swimming schedule and still never touched garlic bread, Coke, or cupcakes…or the television.
But I needed more—there was an empty place in me that needed filling. So I started writing again, not just in my journal, but stories that turned into novels. When I put on Mom’s dragonfly necklace, somehow I also put on some bold, and now, here I am…a little more well-traveled, about to be published, working on novel #4, going great guns as a freelance editor, and yet still worrying about being a TV addict. WTF??!
Yes, Nan, you may watch a little TV without fear of backsliding into a vicious cycle of daytime dramas and garlic bread with a cupcake chaser. Enjoy reruns of The Big Bang Theory. It’s well-written and clever. As a writer, you need to learn about structure and writing that works, so it’s okay to spend two hours on Sunday with Downton Abbey. Explore a little—find some smart, funny shows like Parks and Recreation or some of the others that Lani and Alastair talk about on StoryWonk that will expand your horizons. Stop worrying that your brain will fall out if you watch something other than the news and weather.
Okay…thanks for that little pep talk. I believe I’ll go watch The Gilmore Girls in syndication while I walk on the treadmill. Yeah it’s TV, but it’s also exercise…right? <sigh>