“The average American household has more televisions (2.73) than people (2.55) and has it on over 8 hours a day.” (Minnesota Department of Health)
|Hours per year the average American youth spends in school||900 hours|
|Hours per year the average American youth watches television||1,200|
*Table from StatisticBrain.com
It’s undeniable: We live in a world consumed by entertainment.
We can find countless statistics and studies that display how amusement and entertainment have quickly become a main focus of modern society. Throughout this article, you’ll find a few compelling stats, but my main purpose is to explain how we have become so focused on entertaining ourselves, that we miss out on the true adventure that our lives could be if we resisted settling for mere amusement.
Time is a truly non-renewable resource.
When reflecting on life, do you find the moments spent watching sitcoms or action movies are the moments when your life seems most purposeful and fulfilling? While there is something to be said about the intrinsic value of relaxation and release that visual entertainment can provide, I would wager that the average person has probably surpassed healthy limits of entertainment and amusement.
Yes: we can find enjoyment in these things. And yes: they can serve a purpose in our lives when used intentionally. But it seems safe to say that most of us could stand to do without a few hours of entertainment each week for the sake of actually living a life worthy of the adventures that our hearts desires.
Fiction is useless, unless it inspires us to action.
Fiction, by definition, is something that describes imaginary events and people. When thinking of all of the fictitious media (movies, TV, novels, video games, etc.) that we often spend massive amounts of time engaged with, it seems like the only meaningful purpose that it could possibly serve is to produce some application to our real and relevant lives. If the entertainment and amusement that we seek does nothing to impact our lives and encourage growth, my question then becomes: “Is it really worth it?” It seems to me that just having the intrinsic value of enjoyment and entertainment only goes so far…
Why settle for mere amusement? I see countless people, especially in my college-aged demographic, that are simply allowing their lives to be consumed with entertainment. These hours are usually spent watching dramatic sagas, spunky comedies, and epic adventures that entice the mind and senses to desire more. While many of us have the disposable time to give to this kind of entertainment (even though we seem “too busy”), the challenge becomes perceiving those hours as potentially more useful and valuable.
But why settle for spending them on entertainment and amusement? Why settle for only observing adventure after adventure of fictitious lives that seem brilliant, funny, and cool on the outside? Why not seek to use those moments to create our own adventure… to live a life worthy of being filmed and documented!
It’s been two years…
It’s been two years since I’ve eliminated TV and movies from my life. You might say this was an extreme measure, and yes, I agree… but not to the point of it being foolish. While I have missed out on the occasional social opportunity to spend time with people going to theaters and hosting long movie nights, I’ve gained something far greater. I now spend the time that I would have spent on entertainment for planning and executing my own adventures in life. The payback has been tenfold! Now, my greater purpose with this time is equipping and leading others in their real-life adventures. These endeavors have been so much more fulfilling (and difficult) than how I used to spend my time.
Are we amusing ourselves to death?
Consider this statistic: “At the end of his/her life, the average American will have spent 9 years of time watching TV.” (BLS American Time Use Survey)
Nine years! That’s an incredible investment of life! An investment that many of us sign off without even thinking about it…
There is a passive quality to amusement. It is often the product of unintentional time within someone’s schedule. And whenever I consider it seriously, I never regret not amusing myself.
Living our own adventures…
The goal of all of this is to inspire. When reflecting on the countless hours that I’ve spent on entertainment and watching adventures from the outside looking in, I am now more motivated to intentionally use my time to create my own adventures!
While the adventurous life comes with its limits, I believe that we can create adventure and thrills in our own lives that far outweigh other forms of entertainment. Let’s be active in pursuing those things and, at the same time, maintain a sobered perspective on media and sources of amusement. By living our own adventures, we can begin to truly experience the excitement and challenges that our hearts desire!
Here’s the challenge!
How about sacrificing 2-3 hours per week that you would have spent on entertainment in order to work towards your dreams? Use some time to pursue something that you’ve always wanted to do. Research a particular adventure or hike for the future. Check out a new form of recreation. Work toward a personal goal (large or small).
How about socially? Why not try trading the movies with your friends or loved ones for a different activity or new experience together? I’ve seen this incredibly strengthen my relationships over time, and I think that you will too!
Let’s get out and live our own adventures!
What other opportunities could you pursue?
How have you experienced entertainment or amusement in life?
Are we really “amusing ourselves to death”?