I have not had a TV for many years already and this has led to the funniest comments from friends and acquaintances over the years. The most common comment being: “What do you do with your time?”
While living together with Thomas I used to answer “we argue”. It was an ironic joke to illustrate that there are many things to do besides watching TV. Instead of watching TV we used to have long dinners and talk, hang out with friends, write articles for the website or make pod-casts and videos, do sports, read books, go on trips on the motorbikes and many other things. Needless to say we would have had even more activities if we had children with whom I am sure we would have wanted to spend as much time as possible.
In Denmark I get exactly the same question when people visit me for the first time. They enter my living room and say “Where is the TV?” and are very surprised when I say that I don’t have a TV. I rarely find enough time to do all the things I want to in a day – I really don’t need a TV to clutter up more time.
But I do often wonder how people find time to watch TV? Most people I know tell me that they are really busy and it is normal in Denmark to arrange to meet up with friends at least a week in advance – to make sure that both parts have the time. Interesting.
According to statistics from 2009, Danish people watched TV on average 3 hours and 2 minutes a day: http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Indland/2009/10/14/180601.htm
The article suggests that people watched more TV in 2009 than 2008 because the selection of TV programmes were bigger and that the financial crisis kept people at home instead of spending time out.
But I honestly don’t think this is the reason. I think it comes down to habit. Danish people are simply used to being entertained by the TV instead of spending an evening playing games with their spouse and children, reading books, going for a walk, talking, creative activities like painting, listening to music etc.
And really I think it’s fine that people entertain themselves with the TV – I just hope it is not at the expense of other things.
I guess the best way to evaluate an activity is to ask “Does this activity enrich my life today and will I look back at it in 10 years and think that it enriched my life?
And in the case of TV – “Does watching TV enrich my life today and will I look back at it in 10 years and think that spending more than 1095 hours a year (10.950 hours in 10 years) watching TV enriched my life?