Breaking bad media habits, and my get right for life media diet plan
I’ve been an on-and-off subscriber to Netflix since 2005. When the service was still firmly grounded in snail mail delivery of DVDs, I was on the three-at-a-time plan. What a menu?! I had my queue and veg schedule worked out so that I was pretty much never without new viewing material. And this all worked for a while, but after changing jobs to one with a longer commute my appetite waned, so I flicked flix for the first time.
Years later, when Netflix debuted their streaming service, it smelled of this is the future deliciousness and I hungrily signed up. The selection was a bit bare, but I figured that was just a side effect of being one of the first at the table, and that in no time I’d be lapping up endless documentaries.
Ah, documentaries. They’re my favorite nerd food – right after comic books. I’m a perspective addict, and even the worst documentary usually offers some tasty bit of wisdom. A catered sampling of somebody’s subjective reality. And the good ones are like full on feasts! Always a pleasure.
But I ate too quickly! All my documentaries are done, and they just aren’t added with the frequency of TV series, which seem to be where the streaming services are focusing nowadays… And I hate TV. Television shows, and the way I end up watching them through services like Netflix – think marathon burns through entire seasons – reflect a sort of passive consumption that turns my stomach.
The hours spent watching 30-minute comedies where you can literally guess every single lame joke that’s going to be made ahead of time, are hours I’ll never get back. And I’m not any better having spent them!
I turn into a glutton just chugging through episodes. Even when a show’s gone past its prime, I find myself binging through a season to proclaim that I cleaned my plate.
Well, enough is enough. I’m done with the all-you-can-eat buffet of sitcoms and hour-long genre dramas. I’m throwing out Netflix. When I’ve got a craving for a new documentary, I’ll pull back from the table go out and pick one. Then maybe all that time I’ve been chomping into junk food media can be better spent cooking up something new and hearty.
So, the plan is as follows:
- New hobbies I undertake must be creative in nature. They don’t have to be complex, but they must begin with nothing and end with something; as opposed to consumptive hobbies where I merely digest the stuff other people have created. As a part of that plan, I’m rededicating the time I would’ve spent planted in front of Netflix to drawing and painting, writing (code and words), and starting a YouTube series (more to come on that later).
- Old hobbies that involve consumption must be rigorously reassessed. Reading – comics included – can stay. Music is always welcome, but should from now on lend itself to some creative endeavor (e.g., writing album reviews). Documentaries and any other attention-intensive media must be deliberately purchased or sought out, and never just viewed because it’s available.
- I must share evidence of my progress on a daily basis. This must include a statement of intent, and some token of the resulting outcome.