From Twin Peaks to Westeros, Greendale to Wisteria Lane, my affinity for good (and bad) television knows no bounds. The telly has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, whether I was eavesdropping on my parents watching Seinfeld as a toddler, taking in a episode of Arthur after a long day of third grade, or learning to navigate the tough world of middle school with the guidance provided by Lizzie McGuire.

These days, settling into the couch is a great way to relax after a long day at work; I’ve been known to reminisce with old nineties sitcoms or even enjoy whatever trash Netflix can throw my way (speaking of trash, you should add My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding to your queue ASAP). I remember participating in TV-free week as a kid and I wondered how that would impact my adult life. As much as I love to curl up on the couch and forget about my troubles with a little help from the tube, there are other hobbies out there to hone. Taking bike rides and talking to my husband won’t make me any better at quoting “Seinfeld,” but at least I will have lived life and stuff.

Day 1

On my first TV-free day, I took a little advice from Gretchen Ruben‘s “The Happiness Project” and crossed a nagging task off my to-do list. We all have one that sits at the bottom of our list for months that isn’t exactly urgent but eventually needs to get taken care of. I decided that once and for all I would tackle it.

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It felt incredible to get rid of The-Task-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named and it made me wonder why I took so long to finish it in the first place.

It was a little tough, but since I was productive, it wasn’t too bad.

Day 2

On Tuesday, feeling ultra-deprived of media to consume, I bit the bullet and began an online subscription to the New York Times. I splurged on a subscription to the NYT crossword, too, so it looks like I have a new addiction on my hands aside from the TV.

No matter what your media source of choice is, I would definitely recommend subscribing so you can stay in the loop. If you can shell out a monthly fee for Hulu and Netflix, you can probably shell out a few bucks to stay in the know and keep your mind sharp.

Day 3

On Wednesday, I found truth in Arthur Read’s song: having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card! I used my third TV-free evening to sign up for a library card and peruse the shelves. As a person who loves to read, it’s embarrassing to admit that it took me so long to get with the program.

Granted, most of my adult life has been spent in college where I had university libraries to sift through, but I took those for granted. As a recent graduate, my only options for reading material were the old textbooks I couldn’t sell back to the bookstore.

My shiny new library card will provide access to the classics I never got around to reading, the best-sellers I’ve missed out on, and all the Goosebumps I can carry. I can’t lie, though. I’m also pretty stoked about the access to so many great seasons of TV that aren’t on Netflix.

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Day 4

Thursday evening was spent cooking a turkey. As a recovering vegetarian, this was quite a feat, but I had a turkey that I had gotten for free months ago and had been too afraid to cook. Not only did I have to stuff my hand into the carcass to take out the bag of giblets, but I had to actually eat the thing. I figured this was the perfect time to tackle this project and discover the frustrations that my grandmother feels every Thanksgiving.

I kept it simple, seasoning only with salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon. Miraculously, it turned out perfectly. I didn’t expect it to be edible, let alone juicy and tender and kind of good. It’s been nearly a week and we’re still eating the turkey soup I made with the leftovers. Not bad for a free turkey, nor for just a few hours of toiling in the kitchen that otherwise would have been spent catching up on The Mindy Project.

Day 5

On Friday, Friday (gotta get down on Friday), my husband and I went out on a much-needed date. We hardly ever go out because we’re about as frugal as they come, but instead of doing our usual “beer, popcorn and a movie at home” thing, we went out like a couple of normal twenty-somethings and had a good time.

Sitting at home would have been cheaper, of course, but we also wouldn’t have made a new memory together. Please forgive the cheesiness; we’re newlyweds.

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Day 6-7

The weekend was the most difficult time to resist the TV, considering all the shows we had to catch up on, but we managed to spend our time riding bikes, cleaning our apartment, and actually engaging in conversation as though we enjoy each others’ company. Imagine that!

The great thing about starting this TV-free week before the holiday weekend was that I could look forward to having Memorial Day off to catch up on quality tube time. The funny thing is that, come Monday, I didn’t have much of an urge to veg out in front of the boob tube.

After a week away from laugh track sitcoms and reality garbage, they had less of an appeal. I became used to doing the NYT crossword every morning and having uber-productive evenings, so I wanted to keep the momentum going. That’s not to say I won’t delve back into Bob’s Burgers as soon as I’m done with this article, but I did gain some perspective on the value of the time I spend in front of the TV.

What I learned from my experience was simple: TV is like cheesecake; it can be incredible, indulgent, and a great thing to share with the people in your life, but it’s best in moderation. And try to stick to the quality stuff if you can; your time is valuable.

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