I have a confession to make.
I am a serial TV addict -- I am addicted to watching the serials on my Netflix TV.
How did this become a problem? How did I decide this was even a problem at all? I mean why all the self-judgment? Why am I coming down so hard on myself about my love of watching TV series after series? Plenty of my friends do it... my kids do it. Can't I think of it as just fun, a passion, a simple pleasure, a ritual my husband and I share before bedtime? How come I can't just leave it at that?
Well, I am writing this confession at 6:30 a.m. after very little sleep. Last night I snuck in two extra episodes of Breaking Bad as my husband snored. We were watching the first episode of Season Two together at 11:00 p.m., in bed, on the laptop, and he fell asleep. I kept going, I couldn't stop watching -- it was 1:30 a.m. before I passed out and slid my laptop gently to the floor. And, when I awoke, he was still sleeping as I grabbed my laptop and headed down to the kitchen for another dose, another episode.
All this time I thought this was a simple pleasure. The first time we learned how to download a TV series was five years ago. We were on vacation with our kids and they turned us onto Hulu and Amazon Prime and live streaming. We were thrilled that we could bring our laptop into bed and watch a movie or a TV series while cozily tucked in together. We became instantly technologically proficient and proud of it. A ritual was born. Watching season after season of Grey's Anatomy on vacation, in bed, with my man, was romantic and fun.
Even though we had missed entire seasons of great TV shows -- no worries -- we had moved beyond DVR'ing shows, we were now live streamers! As long as we had Internet access, we were golden... we had our entertainment at our fingertips. Very rarely were we without access and as long as the supply of new series was available, we were good.
Things started to change last year with Homeland and got dramatically worse with House of Cards. Breaking Bad was the tipping point downward when Walter White (Brian Cranston), his meth cooking addiction and his moneymaking addiction, became my watching addiction.
Thankfully, my husband and I didn't know about Homeland until Season Two. We love learning about great shows late in the game because then there is no waiting for the next episode. Boom -- live stream it -- Yes! Watching episode after episode late into the night made us both too adrenalized for sleep so -- Bang -- just one more episode before lights out. My husband and I marathoned it into the wee hours until the season's end. Content, exhausted and full of speculative chatter about what would be next -- we hungrily looked for another show.
And this was pivotal -- we were visiting my partner betterafter50.com and her husband at their vacation condo in New Hampshire. Lovely day of cross country skiing, dinner and wine when they started talking about this amazing show they had watched on Netflix -- House of Cards. They happily re-watched the first episode with us and went to bed. We, however, did not go to bed; we lay on their couch for two more episodes and finally dragged ourselves to sleep at 2 a.m. The next morning as they were packing up to leave (they were heading back early to Boston), we asked them if they would mind if we hung out a little longer and closed up after ourselves. No problem. So, we made ourselves a little breakfast and hunkered down back on the couch -- we watched a few more episodes -- went out to take a walk -- and went back to the couch. Around early evening, we called them and asked if they minded if we slept there one more night (we weren't done watching) -- they understood. Really! We actually invited ourselves into our friends' home, onto their couch because we couldn't pull ourselves away from House of Cards until it was too late to drive back. OMG!
And now Breaking Bad's meth-addicted theme has become my addiction reality.
This beloved recreational passion, this hobby, this lovely pleasure has developed into a real problem. I had no idea that this simple pleasure would interfere with my day to day functioning but in fact, its tentacles have woven their way into my ability to get my work done and have affected my sleep. My relationship with my husband has shifted because this activity has now become my number one bedfellow. The time I spend in this activity has overtaken my ability to do the other things I so love in my life like reading, getting out of the house early for walks, and early morning writing.
My confession is now complete, I am aware of the problem, however I am not ready to change my behavior. But, I am admittedly a tad concerned that once I run through every episode of Breaking Bad, what's next? Got some ideas?
P.S. If you're looking to tuck in and hunker down with some great shows to watch -- here are a few of my favorites -- but try to pace yourselves!
Read more from Better After 50:
Why Can't Every Mammogram Be Like This?
Your Household Products May Be Giving You Cancer
Intuition, The X Factor When It Comes To A Cancer Diagnosis
Funniest Myths To Stay Young
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