If you were drawn to click on this article, chances are that you too recently immersed yourself in the teenage drama filled world of 13 Reasons Why—just as Netflix, and (I like to think) Selena Gomez wanted you to.
Having just finished the series myself—which I know by professional binging standards is way behind the typical turnaround time—I had a realization that I felt inclined to share. And no, this realization has absolutely nothing to do with the touchy subject matter that the show centers itself around.
The understanding that I’d like to offer my take on revolves around the act of binge watching, something that far too many of us have far too much firsthand experience with. Warning: if you find great joy and partially identify yourself by your binge watching capabilities, I’m going to rain on your lazy parade.
Here are 13 reasons why I believe we all need to stop binge watching and start binge living today:
1. The “American Dream” is no longer possible.
The days where all we needed to do was get a job and work 9 to 5 to buy a home, drive a car, and raise a family are long gone. You don’t need me to tell you how ridiculous the cost of living has become, and that doesn’t even factor in the insane amounts of debt we are tying ourselves down with to get ourselves “educated” enough to even apply for a half-decent job.
Just as Uber’s most recent ad campaign reminds us, we all need a side hustle, and last I checked the hourly wage on binge-watching isn’t very high.
2. It shows our passion potential.
We all know at least one person who claims to lack the passion necessary to follow their dreams or accomplish their goals. Yet when a TV show manages to capture their interest they get through seasons like nobody’s business.
Our ability to binge-watch shows is living proof of our ability to get so passionate about something that we will regularly make time for it no matter how busy we are otherwise.
3. We’ll never be younger than we are right now.
It’s a simple fact, and we both know you’ll only be five hours older after you finish watching five more episodes of whatever starring whomever. Choose to make the most of your life right now knowing that it is as capable as you are ever going to be, and these shows will still be there when your capability diminishes or needs a well-deserved break.
4. Watch episodes as a break rather than an escape.
Believe it or not, my goal with this article is not to get you to stop illegally streaming HBO and cancel your Netflix account. You can still watch and even keep up with the shows you love, but do it as a break from the daily hustle to create the life you want rather than a prolonged escape from the life you don’t.
5. No show will ever change our life.
Yes, the experience of watching a show—especially those with relatable subject matter—can be a powerful experience that can change the way we look at our lives, but it will never change our situation. So let’s stop dedicating so much time to that which does not change our lives, and instead start dedicating as much time to that which can.
6. We complain we don’t have enough time.
We all complain that we don’t have enough time and/or resources to do many of the things we love in life. Yet, we somehow always make time to watch each week’s episode of The Walking Dead, and I’m sure if the creators decided to start making episodes six hours long we’d find a way to make it work.
Rather than binging through another series, use that time to either do something else that you love or to make some extra money to make doing something you currently can’t afford to do more possible.
7. We sit enough already.
North Americans have never been more sedentary, and obesity rates are without a doubt reflective of that. So does regularly committing to even more hours spent sitting on our butts to get through the newest series sound like a healthy idea?
8. Your life will always be more interesting.
While your daily life may not offer the dramatic intensity that Riverdale seems to consistently offer Betty and Veronica, it will always be more interesting than it. How so? Because you actually get to experience it firsthand!
Remember to appreciate and live the life that you have in front of you instead of dedicating so much of it to watching the fictional lives of others.
9. The rewards of hard work will feel incredible.
As so many successful individuals are living proof of, hard work truly does pay off. Getting a “side hustle” or spending more time working on something else (rather than just watching something else) may not sound that intriguing, but the benefits it can help to create can feel incredible.
10. No one in pop culture cares about you, so stop caring so much about them.
This may be obvious to some, and a tough pill to swallow for others. The bottom line is, no one in the pop culture world cares about you, and rightfully so, since they have more than enough issues in their own lives. So stop caring so much about them and feeling this need to keep up with their reality series or latest project as if they are going to take you falling behind personally.
11. It’s time to bring real conversations back.
Social media is the double-sided weapon that has simultaneously made us more connected and disconnected than ever before. We can talk to hundreds, if not thousands, of people with a few strokes on our keyboard, but because of our addiction to that, we now barely exchange a smile on a crowded subway train.
The less we binge-watch TV shows, the more likely we are to actually talk to others about their lives rather than compare notes on a recent episode.
12. The real world misses you.
As comfortable as your couch is, there will still be plenty of time to spend on it after you choose to regularly get out into the world rather than always cower into the “comforts” of your personal space.
13. What has binge watching ever done for you?
Honestly, what has it ever done for you? So stop giving it so much of your time and attention.