I know, I know. I can imagine what you're probably thinking:
The truth is, yes, I have. (But only the first eight or so episode so don't spoil it for me). And I couldn't agree more. Netflix is pretty amazing—have you seen The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?! But lately, I can't help feeling that my little love affair is fading.
Let me take a step back.
I've always been a bit of a bookworm.
Growing up, I was routinely scolded for reading while I walked home from school (apparently this isn't the safest way to cross the street) and made almost daily trips to the school library. I memorized my library card number and routinely stressed out over the fact that I would never possibly be able to read every single book in their collection.
Now that I'm older and realize that fear was maybe not only misplaced but also unrealistic, I've found it's gotten harder to embrace my book-loving ways. Through college finding time to read for pleasure was almost impossible so I savored downtime on breaks and holidays. Since graduation, I've found that while I can still devour a novel in one sitting, I've been spending less and less time in my favorite armchair, paging through the latest paperback to land on my nightstand.
At first, I worried that I'd grown out of my love for reading (I know, guys, irrational anxiety central over here). What if reading just didn't interest me? What if I just didn't have the attention span to spend hours with a book anymore?
What a fucking depressing thought that is. But for a split second, I was worried it might be true.
Then I realized something. I should probably be blaming Netflix. At least a little bit.
After a long day at work (staring at the glowing screen of my computer for the past nine hours), chances are I'll come home to—you guessed it—spend more time staring mindlessly at a different, albeit similar glowing screen.
And somehow that's become alright in my mind, a typical evening even. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that all the time I lamented not spending with a book, I was instead spending half-watching some TV show or movie I'd already seen on Netflix.
I realized that lots of my Netflix watching takes place during what I'll call "dead time"—folding laundry, cleaning my kitchen, even getting ready for work in the morning. Instead of being something I actually focused on, Netflix had become background noise, a mindless hum to distract me for whatever I may have been doing at the time.
And honestly, that kind of sucks.
So I decided it's time for a change. For the foreseeable future, I'll be (more or less) breaking up with Netflix.
Sure, I'll probably finish watching the third season of House of Cards over the next month. And maybe on a quiet Friday night I'll watch an old favorite (any other Teen Witch lovers out there?). But my days of binging are over.
After reading this incredible piece by Belle Cooper on "workload paralysis," I knew without a doubt it was time. Because that is exactly how I've been feeling lately—totally and completely paralyzed. Simultaneously stressed about how much I want to be doing and completely drained of motivation to actually take any action.
So how do I fix that?
To be honest, I don't really know. But limiting my Netflix consumption seems like a good place to start. From there I have a few other ideas, some of which include:
More music & more dance parties. I'm always shocked by how much a three-minute dance break does for my mood. Since Netflix had become background chatter, it only seems natural to replace it with something less distracting and equally delightful.
Remembering that beds are for sleeping. Seems logical, right? But especially in the throws of an Iowa winter, I was spending a lot of unnecessary time in my bed. Which leads to not wanting to do things—like write or go out or stop watching Netflix or leave your bed. Catch my drift?
Books, books, books. I've got a giant "to read" stack waiting for me and I couldn't be more excited. You can check out what I'm currently enjoying here.
Quiet, phone-free mornings. I'm one of those horrible people who sleeps with their cell phone. Just writing that out makes me cringe a little bit. So I'm saying enough is enough. Similar to Netflix, my iPhone shouldn't be the last thing I see at night and the first thing I grab in the morning.
Silence. Because sometimes deciding to do nothing is alright, too.