Confessions of an Addictive Personality

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>


  • Nan

    londonmabel–the journey may have been TMI, but thanks! And yes, I’ve vowed to no longer feel guilty for watching Downton Abbey–great series!!

    Liz and Carrie–excellent points–it is easier now to be really picky and thus avoid addiction…not all that much that’s out there interests me at this point, so I’m safe for now!

  • londonmabel

    Downton Abbey is the best! Watched it in the first season (with my husband.) It does a good job of showing the limitations of life back then, both upstairs and down. My fave tv, that I don’t feel guilty for watching, is the good British stuff.

    But in other news… your Journey Summary was really interesting!

  • Liz Flaherty

    Oh, I love this. And I love the whole re-invention process (after it’s over, anyway) too. Is that a girl thing? But I don’t see your TV addiction spring back to life–there’s just not enough there to latch onto!

  • Carrie

    The beauty of the current state of television, Nan,is that through DVR, July, or iTunes you maintain control. No more being tied to a schedule. No more conversation that you’ll miss a plot point it funny line if you answer the phone or adjust your treadmill settings!

  • Nan

    Charlie, yes, this is officially Post #100! Who’d have ever guessed I’d find enough to say to write 100 blog posts. Okay, don’t answer that!

    Roben, that’s totally freaky! I’m headed over to your blog right now. I love TBBT–probably because I’m surrounded by engineers and scientists and I can totally relate. Geekdom reigns!

    Susan, you’re right…most of us probably do have some AP…I may have gotten more than my share. I need to go find the first season of DA. I need it…I mean, I want to watch it. 😉

  • Susan Courtney

    Thank you for your honesty. I think there is a bit of addictive personality in all of us. Few admit it.
    Craig and I just finished watching the first season of Downton Abby on Netflix. 🙂

  • robena grant

    Nan!!! I can’t believe you wrote this post and last night I wrote one about The Big Bang Theory and just posted it this morning. : )
    Talk about synchronisity.
    Anyway, I do like the writing in Downton Abbey but haven’t seen enough shows. I’ll have to buy the series and start from the beginning. What I have seen so far I’ve liked. The writing is excellent. From what many of my friends say, their hubs or boyfriends, like it too. I asked one friend why, and she said it’s all of the little intrigues and the strong believable male characters and the way all of the characters remain true to who they are.
    So yeah, relax enjoy a show or two. You deserve it! Can’t wait for your book to come out.

  • Charlie

    Wow! Nan, could this be your 100th post! Congratulations! See, you’ve found a new addiction more powerful than TV: writing! Go with your strengths!