When my husband died I don’t know how I would have made it through the days without television. There was the news, the latest events from around the world, movies, ads, game shows but I heard none of it. It was only background noise, a noise I needed desperately to fill the new and terrible silence around me.
Through the following months, and now years, the TV is still on most of the time, but most of the time it is muted. When I move around in my apartment the images flashing by still give me the feeling of – maybe – somebody is there with me?
According to statistics of Television viewership I am not alone. Television is a companion for a lot of retired, older people. Maybe it is for the same reason, not to feel alone, to be up-to-date, connected to the world allowing us to know at every moment, instantly, what is happening anywhere in the world. But do we really need to know? Does it improve our life?
Having admitted to be a television junkie, I would like to share an experience that is slowly weaning me off my dependency – and it feels good. Since a few months I am spending a week a month in a place where there is no television – yes, no television – or even WiFi. All I have is my phone which let’s me get emails and phone calls. The first two days I am there I am miss the news. The third day it doesn’t matter, after all what could I do about it? And at the end of the week I know that the world turns and goes on without me.
A very freeing, appeasing experience, which has replaced the mute button to be the off button. It has also taken away the numbness I had developed seeing the world’s misery over and over, leaving me more aware of the world around me.
Of course I still watch TV, but much less and instead of the devastating news of the day I am happy to watch Downton Abbey!
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