Fifty-two dreams left on my list of 101 Dreams Come True Last Friday night, I was visiting friends and they had the television on. There was a time in my life, when television was my main form of entertainment. My partner and I would Tivo our favorite shows and spend over three hours per night watching the silver box in the living room. During the day, I took many breaks from writing and turned on the t.v. in order to wind down my brain. I'm afraid to count the hours I spent in front of the television. I'm certain it would add up to months of my life wasted.
When I left the relationship I made a pact with myself not to watch television. If I was going to change my life, I needed to get away from watching other people living and go out and get active. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the occasional show. I'm rather addicted to reruns of "Gilmore Girls" and I find "Modern Family" hilarious, but my life is much richer and fuller now that I've turned off the tube.
But back to my original point, I had no idea what people were watching these days. I hadn't heard of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians", "Holly", or "Dance Your Ass Off". I had never watched the "Bachelorette". I was shocked by how many people watch hours of over-privileged, spoiled, pathetic people with no real sense of morality fighting with one another and bitching about life. Why would someone waste their time watching this? I'm told the show is hilarious, and I'm not trying to judge, but how is this funny?
Then last night, in the desperate attempt to clear the vision of the Celtics losing badly to the Lakers, I changed the channel to a show where Jillian Michaels from "The Biggest Loser" goes into homes of people who are overweight and over-cluttered to help them change their lives. It's a great concept and something needed in our country, but I had to wonder what people from other countries must think about the fact that the U.S. needs so many shows to de-clutter and to lose weight. How have we become such a bloated, complacent, over-stuffed (in many ways not just food) culture?
What has happened to our society? We have more in this country than any other place in the world. We have some of the best medical, every opportunity open to us, and as a friend from S. Africa put it, the poorest person in America is better off than a large population of the world. So why are so many people miserable? Why has it become okay to sit in a large house, dump junk food down your throat, and complain about life while ruining your health? Why don't people want more? Oh that's right, they get more by shopping and over-stuffing their garages and homes with things they don't need.
I hear too many complaints about the economy, our government, and the world today. Yet, I don't see Americans doing anything about it. If every person who sat and watched the Kardashian sisters scream at one another, got off the couch and went after their dreams of a better life, or yet helped change the state of our country, can you imagine what our world would be like? I can, and it's a much prettier picture than the one we have. Better yet, if all the hours that were spent on Facebook, "connecting" to other people, were spent with family or out doing something with actual people, could our world be a better place? I believe it could be.
People keep saying that it must be nice to be able to live a life in which I pursue my dreams. My response, turn off the television, Facebook, Twitter, and go out and live. And when I say turn off the internet stuff, I also mean that when you are out doing an activity stop updating your social network sites with what a great time you are having and actually spend time with the people around you. You might make deeper connections.