It’s about four months into this challenge for me and so far I’ve found it a positive experience. Walking around the shops, knowing I can’t buy any of the things on sale has actually been quite liberating. I’ve made more use of the library as well as buying things second-hand. In terms of clothes, the only things I’ve had to buy first-hand were some socks and boxers. Otherwise I’ve not bought that much apart from magically finding a decent pair of jeans in the British Red Cross shop. I’ve not been unhappy at all, apart from one time when I ran out of books to read and spent two hours trawling the library and second-hand books shops until I found something.
I’ve feel that I’ve become more aware of how we all relate to shopping, what we buy and why we do it. Much of the shopping we do is to feed an addiction. This addiction is the false hope of the happiness that will come if we buy something new. These new things may bring pleasure for a while, but almost inevitably this happiness will fade and then we have to go out and buy more stuff in order to feel good again. Recently when I ran out of books to read, I was frantic to get another book. Does this sound that the actions of a rational person, or of an addict, desperate to get their next fix? It’s quite scary when you think about it.
I want to know how much of my life is based on this addiction to everyday stuff. With this project, I’m already trying to deal with the material things, but what about the other stuff such as TV, radio, computers, MP3 players etc. The CO2 calculator from DECC gives the proportion of electricity used by consumer electronics (excluding electric heating) as almost one fifth of the total amount. So in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we also need to look at the stuff that we already have and how we use it.
Much of the last two weeks I’ve been stuck to the sofa, watching the Olympics and not really doing much else. What if I gave up TV for a week, how would I react? Would I go bonkers, will I actually discover the art of conversation and the great outdoors or would I just get plain bored?
So I’m going to set a challenge to myself of not watching TV for an entire week. This may sound easy (or not), but personally I think I’ll find it quite tough. As well as switching on the box, I want to avoid any internet-based substitutes as well, and avoid watching videos on my PC. I’m going to want to restrict my computer usage to just emails and essential stuff. Keeping up with the news is important for me, so I’m going to allow one hour of radio each day for that. I’ll start this project on the week when the Olympics are over. It’ll also be interesting to see how much electricity I save, so I’ll be recording my meter readings. One bonus is that I might actually be able to get some reading done for my upcoming MSc as well. I’ll post some updates on this page to say how I’m getting on.
House eerily quiet. I have a vague sense of loss, something missing. Managed to do some reading, but spent too much time on Youtube as needed some visual stimulation. Must try harder. Use willpower.
Interestingly I’m starting to do some of the jobs I that I normally leave to the weekend. Last night I decided to do some weeding in the back yard which has been bugging me for ages.
I do have a confession to make though as I watched 10 minutes of the news last night. I’m a real news junky and I love my Channel 4 news at 7pm so I had to switch on for 10 mins just to see what was going on.
Evenings definitely feel much longer now that I don’t just sit in front of the TV. Glad I’ve got stuff to read, otherwise I might go crazy.
Had a bad headache the last couple of days, and it’s a lot harder to stick to something when you’re feeling rough. So I failed Thursday night as I felt rotten and needed some TV tlc to cheer me up. Better on Friday and managed to sit down and do some reading. I’ve about 900 pages of text book to read before my MSc, so hopefully I can train myself to watch less TV and read more.
There a lot of TV that I watch and don’t really need to. Generally over the last week I’ve been able to chill out, read, study, and not miss the TV apart from the news programs. The only problem is if you are not feeling 100%, and want some easy entertainment, then it’s easy to just sit and slob out in front f the box. And maybe that’s okay as long as it’s not the norm. Also the computer has been a bit of a lure, which isn’t great as I’m just swapping one device for another. One thing I’ve really enjoyed is the peace and quiet of just sitting and reading, without the TV on.
I think moving forward I’m really going to make an effort to reduce my TV viewing. Maybe just one hour a day during the week will make me be more selective in what I watch. Doing this mini challenge has made me realise that if I watch fewer programs, I see less adverts for forthcoming programs and so I don’t get hooked into the loop of continually wanting to watch more. If I don’t know about it, how can I miss it. So in this case maybe it’s true, ignorance really is bliss:-)