Twenty-Year Anniversary

The village library in Levuka, Fiji. Seeing the stacks of books and the long tables reminded me of how exciting it always was to go to the library when I was little – the smell of books and the excitement of opening one and never knowing what world was inside.
Teddy, who is also committed to a post a day in August, just wrote about giving up television.  It reminded me of an important anniversary of mine happening this month.

I moved out of my parents’ house in August, 1997 to go to Pitzer College, and I haven’t had television since.

What have I done instead of watching five hours and four minutes of television every single day?

  • Became president of Pitzer’s student body.
  • Ran a Harvard MUN team.
  • Started an award-winning tea club.
  • Volunteered with political campaigns, community service organizations, and leadership groups.
  • Became an Area Governor of Toastmasters.
  • Read books.  Hundreds and hundreds of books.
  • Hosted large and small parties.
  • Learned how to sail, box, climb rocks, grapple, run, swim, and golf.
  • Became a SuperHost on AirBNB.
  • Moved to Wales.
  • Moved to Spain.
  • Ran an ebay business.
  • Went to law school.
  • Became a lawyer.
  • Learned to cook.
  • Started Cash Mobs.
  • Left lawyering and worked for NPR.
  • Moved to London.
  • Traveled around the world.
  • Moved to Edinburgh.
  • And probably a thousand other things I can’t remember.

Could I have done all these things without television?  Perhaps.  But freeing up about 35 hours a week sure helped.

One positive thing about television, perhaps, is that it keeps other people occupied with things that almost certainly don’t affect their lives.  Thus, if you’re competing, having five extra hours a day could constitute a competitive advantage.



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