I think most of us in this world of Netflix have been guilty of binge-watching at one point or another. For instance, one night of my senior year of college, I decided to start the show Scandal and breeze through part of the first season as I stayed up all night trying to write a paper and prepare for an oral exam the next day. I vividly remember most of the details of that night: the weird combo of the mint Starbucks drink I was drinking to stay up and the meatloaf I ate to keep the late night munchies at bay, the strange subject of the Italian figure of D’Annunzio I was writing about and his house/museum in Italy that I was both fascinated and repulsed by, the theology I tried to cram into my head before the oral exam (the exam itself was kind of fuzzy because of the whole ’no sleep’ thing) and the beginning plot of Scandal, which I haven’t watched since that inglorious night.
Binge-watching is a sport, a guilty pleasure, something that becomes a bragging right. We brag about our Netflix exploits like we are a teenager who just got their first kiss before all your other friends. If you have made it this far, you must have read the above paragraph and noticed that hint of bragging, because I pulled off good grades in those classes despite my idiocy the night before. And that’s only because I have had years of theology before that exam and I already had a good grade in the other class. My all-nighter didn’t help anything.
So why am I bragging then? Its not an amazing feat. I just sat there for hours doing nothing but stare at a screen-maybe I tried multitasking but it wasn’t that successful. Maybe I learned something, maybe I felt a little inspired, but on the whole after binge-watching I personally feel….frustrated, a little sad, disillusioned. My life isn’t the exciting life on the screen, it isn’t full of adventure and romance. My everyday becomes even more everyday and mundane after a binge watch. Its harder to get back into reality and appreciate the life I have been given. Instead of writing that blog post or talk, praying, helping my friend or family, finishing that project, exercising, doing something that will impact my life or others for the better, I often decide that my life really needs just ‘one more episode.’ (It doesn’t help that Netflix will just play an episode if you don’t react fast enough-because homegirl is pretty lazy let me be honest)
But, I don’t need that ‘one more episode.’ I am issuing myself this challenge and I challenge you to do the same: don’t binge watch anymore. A couple episodes is fine if you need to rewind or are catching up with a friend, but don’t go overboard. Don’t put yourself or others after a show. Realize how beautiful the world you live in is when you aren’t living vicariously through a screen.