13 things that have happened since I stopped watching TV 2 years ago


Me in Tianjin, China

Cadence Bambenek

Freshman year of college, I quit TV. OK, to be fair, by that time it was streaming - but the point is: I stopped.

Up until then, TV had always been a big part of my life. Growing up, I would always come home from school, plop down on the futon, and flip through the television channels.

Watching TV became a bonding activity. My brothers, mom, and I would sit around the TV and watch a show or two together every night. By high school, I had my own laptop and started streaming episodes of my favorite shows off of Hulu.


This habit intensified when I got to college. I would return to my dorm room and binge watch, burning through one episode after another. It got to the point where I was watching more shows than I could even keep up with: Grey's Anatomy, The Mindy Project, NCIS, Law & Order: SVU, the list goes on.

Was it an addiction? I'm not sure. But every time I flipped open my computer screen, a sense of anxiety would swell in my chest. Anxiety that watching TV wasn't productive, that I was wasting my life consuming the carefully constructed lives of fictional TV characters instead of building my own.

And so I stopped. I couldn't tell you the exact date I stopped, just that one day I decided to take a break from watching TV for a while, and I guess that break never really ended. This is what has happened since I stopped watching TV over two years ago: