Friday, November 22, 2013

My second favorite hobby (after eating, of course)

I dread the inevitable question that eventually comes when you find yourself forced into small talk with someone you've recently met:

"So. . . what are your hobbies?"

I feel like people want me to tell them I run marathons, I have a massive Pinterest-inspired craft collection or I'm secretly a master chef or photographer.

I do like to run, read, listen to music, write, volunteer, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, one of my favorite hobbies is watching TV. I know - pathetic, right?

We've all heard that TV just "rots your brain," and we all know at least one of those people who love telling you they don't own a TV, but in moderation I think it's a perfectly fine hobby to have.

Sure, I've wasted entire weekends plowing through a season (or three) of my newest obsession, but it's not something I do - or even want to do - every weekend. As long as one understands the differences between TV and real life (sadly, many do not) and the dangers of being an actual couch potato, I don't think it's anything I should have to feel ashamed about.

Would my time be better spent doing something...oh, I don't know..productive? Probably. I really should work on carving out more time for worthwhile activities, but this is one hobby I enjoy too much to completely give up - plus, I'm really good at it:)

I don't know if I love it because I'm nosy and like having such a deep look into people's lives (real or fake) or because it's an easy way to fool myself into feeling like I have a ton of friends without actually having to talk to anyone (yes, I know how sad that sounds), but I do know I benefit in more than one way because of my love for it. For example:

It can be a conversation topic that saves me in the middle of an awkward social interaction - so pretty much every one I have. With the insane amount of shows out there today, most people have at least a favorite show or two, and since I watch a lot of TV I probably know enough about their favorites to buy me at least five much less awkward minutes of talking. Plus, the shows you love can say a lot about you, so it's a pretty easy way to learn more about a person you don't know very well.


*It's a great (and easy) way to bond with someone. Whether it's bonding over our love (or disgust) for a certain character or relationship or our shared empathy for a current situation a character is facing, it can feel like something exclusive shared between just us (I know that it's actually not exclusive and there have to be other people watching for it to continue to run, but please don't ruin this for me).

*Sometimes I just want to laugh - and laughing is good for you! I love catching myself laughing out loud when I'm caught up in a show. At first I'm always embarrassed (I'm not sure why since usually it's just in front of my cats or Jared, and they've seen me do much stranger things), but it is actually quite freeing to be in such a happy, carefree zone and enjoying something so much that you can't help such an outburst. So thanks to my love of sitcoms and SNL I am more comfortable enjoying a good, loud laugh and trying to not take everything so seriously.

*Catering to the desperate human need to belong, I like that I relate to such a wide variety of characters, knowing there are millions of others out there watching and relating in the same way. And I love that there are so many of us who can identify 100 percent with Liz Lemon. It just goes to show we're all really not that different.
*It can serve as motivation in two ways. First, quite frankly, spending so much time watching people who are obviously in great shape makes me want to be in great shape. I know this is horrible of me to include because I could easily do a separate blog post on all the reasons this mindset is dangerous and wrong, but I'm just being honest. 


Second, depending on the show, I'll feel motivated to do a number of things like be more social, not give up on a goal, set new goals, be more appreciative, spend more time with family or look at life from a different perspective.

Sometimes I just want to escape reality for a little bit, and Netflix is a lot cheaper than taking a lot of vacations.

*Someday when I have my own treadmill placed perfectly in front of a TV I can combine two hobbies and spend hours running without even realizing how fast I'm going. Who can argue with that?

Well, I've now either spent way too much time trying to justify a bad habit or I've convinced you there really are some benefits that come from this 'hobby' of mine. You decide!

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