No Vision for Lent

Or, more accurately, no Television for Lent.

Despite being more or less aware of Lent over the years, I’ve never really gone in for the “giving something up” thing (or the “taking something up” either).  Partly because self-discipline is a foreign language, and partly because it always seems to be a bit of a token gesture.  I suppose one year I ought to try to give up swearing, but I suspect that battle has been lost long before the first shot is fired.

This year, however, the start of Lent coincided with one of my periodic urges to get things Sorted Out, Gosh Darn.  So for reasons various, complex, rational and just odd I (we, in fact, as it wasn’t going to work if it wasn’t a household thing) waved bye-bye to television.

In one sense, this represented a major life adjustment.  Over the last few years the default setting has been come home, cook, plonk down in front of the One Eyed God in the corner and channel hop like crazy until I find something that’s vaguely engaging yet totally undemanding, and which won’t wind me up so that I end up shouting at the screen.  Which has meant fairly high mindless consumption of Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Haven, CSI (original and New York, Miami tended to result in too much toe-curling and ranting at the awful writing), Sons of Anarchy, Castle, and various other similar things, usually with a comic prelude from Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family … you get the picture.  Mostly it was just flick, flick, flick until something was found, rather than actively following a series.  After all, it’s a rare night when one of those isn’t on somewhere.

End result, I watched quite a lot of quite good TV.  And some utter crap.  And ended up staying up too late (why does all the good stuff start at 10 p.m.?  And why can’t I get it into my head that it’s not somehow immoral to record the show for later?).  And not getting loads of other stuff done.  Stuff I needed to, or stuff I wanted to but never even had time to think about.  Like farting about with a blog. Or maybe reading.  Doing music-related things.  Doing some more creative stuff that’s always on the back burner but never feels the heat.

So bye-bye TV.

Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be no sacrifice at all.  OK, I didn’t go to bed much earlier, because I kept finding other stuff to do.  But there was plenty of other stuff to do, and it’s probably rotted my brain just a little less.  I also think I’m a bit more chilled out, although I may be kidding myself there, thinking back on the last couple of weeks.  Weekday evenings have been gently and slowly transformed from a write-off into times when the odd useful and interesting thing may get done.  Which leaves weekends freer for Big Stuff. A trend which will hopefully continue.  OK, I’ve missed a lot of good TV.  But I don’t care; I’m doing other interesting stuff instead.  Well, interesting to me, anyway. And it feels like a better, happier, healthier life.

What’s more, Lent ended, and the TV has stayed off.   In fact, the first thing I’ve watched (excluding films on DVD, which we both agreed didn’t count) since the start of Lent was a random episode of Hawaii Five-O last night, after coming in and really just needing something mindless to entertain me.  I even turned it off afterwards, and didn’t get sucked into whatever came next.  I’m sure Mr Branson can cope, but it’s looking like Virgin might be just that little bit poorer soon if this keeps up.

Now if I can just quit frittering time away on the Internet I’ll have it made.