My New Year’s resolutions go a lot like an episode of Pinky and the Brain. This is how mine goes:
Pinky: What are you going to do this year?
Brain: Same thing we do every year. Stop television from taking over my life!
I am a television addict. I think TV addiction must be fairly commonplace these days. Almost everyone has a TV, sometimes in every room, sometimes in their bedroom, and can also watch TV on their computer, phone, and more. I imagine that some people would hear me say TV addict and scoff, because it isn’t like a real addiction. It isn’t like drugs and alcohol where it ruins a person inside and out.
But I know all about addiction, having watched my parents’ slow decay. I agree my addiction doesn’t cause the same level of harm that drug addiction does, but it has ruined my life, and that is what addiction is about.
Addiction is the great enemy of freedom, because addiction decides what you will do, how you will spend your time and money. Television may not be physically harmful like substance abuse (though it does correlate with a sedentary lifestyle) but it is the great waster of time. I spend hours every single day watching television. Sometimes, I try to multitask, to exercise, to groom my dog, to do my nails, to wash the dishes, so that I am not “wasting” my time, but even after those things are done, I still crave television. I yearn for it. I seek desperately through the channels for something to watch, and then relax, satisfied, and let the time fleet away.
And it has ruined my life. My house is a mess, I have only a part-time job when I need to find a full-time job, I’m overweight, I have few close connections with people, and don’t spend enough time with my family members. I act like I don’t have enough time, but I would! I would, if I didn’t give up hours a day to a box that gives me nothing in return.
This is an addiction. I know it is harmful, and yet, the behavior repeats. I try to change the behavior, but it makes my anxious and upset.
If anyone out there is calling me out, that this addiction is really just weakness, and that I need to take personal responsibility for my choices, YES! Absolutely. It is weakness. It is my own fault. It is I that have ruined my life, and for what? It couldn’t be come clichéd fear of success could it? Some nonsense that I am clinging to what I know, to what is easy, rather than a chance at something better?
I am responsible for the state of my life. But I use this bold language, the language of addiction, to help me to deal with the problem. I want to take this problem as seriously as I want my parents to take their problem. I want to demand from myself no addiction, not even one as stupid as television.
Because no addiction is harmless. It costs. I don’t want it to cost me anymore.