She asked me how I was doing, and I told her the truth. Overwhelmed.
As the new season (my favorite, don’t get me wrong!) has settled into a routine, my days have done the opposite. It’s like my to-do lists (yes, multiple) and my calendars (yes, multiple…yes, it’s a problem) have been tossed into the air, and I’m left scrambling to pick up the pieces and figure out how they fit together – and how they fit into the same 24 hours everyone has.
I’ve been a little stressed. I’ve got a lot to do. I’m overwhelmed, I told her.
A good friend, she listened sympathetically and then brainstormed a few ways that might make it a little better. We debated how much massaging my budget could handle to pay for some stress relief in the form of a housecleaner or babysitter, even as I knew neither was a real option right now. It was nice to dream for a moment, though.
My friend had one more question, though. “I have to ask…” she began. “How do you have time to watch SO MUCH TELEVISION?”
I laughed. She’d read my blog post about all the TV shows I am watching this fall, and after the conversation we’d just had, it was a valid question. And to be honest, it’s a question I’ve heard before, from other focused, productive, disciplined friends [WHO I LOVE] who “just don’t have time to watch TV.”
I told my friend that I’d realized how ridiculous my blog post sounded after hitting “publish,” and I knew I hadn’t been clear. See, I do watch a lot of TV shows, but I do it while I’m working on the computer or folding towels or paying bills. I don’t JUST watch TV. So in the evenings, when I’m alone and the house is quiet and a little lonely (because the kids are in bed and Mark is at work), I turn on the TV. Then, with the TV playing my shows, I go about my evening business.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t be more productive or efficient without the background distraction of the television. I’m sure I would. And if I ever need to write something deep or difficult or complicated, I turn it off. And when I have an editing project to work on, I turn it off.
But I can research and draft and tweet and pin and design while I watch TV. I can fold those towels or pay bills or answer emails while I watch TV. In theory, I could do dishes or iron shirts or dust shelves while I watch TV. (I don’t. But I COULD.)
So, I’m not sorry for keeping up with a lot of TV shows. It doesn’t really suck up as much time as it seems. And you know what else? I LIKE TV.
Ohhhh, there it is. My explanation about my TV-watching habits really is an attempt at clarity. But you know what else it is? An apology.
By explaining (or over-explaining, as some might call it and as I tend to do), I’m basically saying that you’re right and I do watch too much TV and I shouldn’t and I don’t, really, but kind of and I’m sorry.
Except that’s not true! I’m not sorry for watching television!
I love stories. Stories about broken people and growing people and loving people and, yes, beautiful people. I love stories about mysteries and their answers, about underdogs and heroes, about love and loss and laughter.
And while I love reading those kinds of stories most of all, I can’t read and multitask.
Shoot. There I go again, making sure you know that I don’t sit on my butt 15 hours a week and stare at the boob tube. There I go again, apologizing!
Okay, let’s try this again: I’m not sorry I like to watch TV.
I love stories and watching them unfold on-screen is one of my favorite ways to relax. Not every minute of our lives must be productive, and even if someone else’s “me time” looks like running three miles, I’m not ashamed to say mine looks like reading a good book or watching a smart or funny (or, ideally, smart AND funny) TV show.
So last night as I paid bills and wrote everything on my family’s October calendar, I watched the pilot of Limitless. And as I scheduled tweets and Facebook posts for today, I watched that last episode of Hollywood Game Night that was taking up space on my DVR. And then? Then I closed my laptop, grabbed a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin, and watched every second of Once Upon a Time.
Because some shows shouldn’t be multitasked. And I’m not sorry about any part of that.
Do you like watching TV? Do you ever feel like you should apologize for that?
This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge. To read all the posts in this series, click here. And to learn more about this challenge or to find more series to read, visit Write31Days.com. Apple photos courtesy of my brother, James.