Creating vs consuming

I’ve been sick since Friday.

Knocked flat on my back, full on sick.

It happens at this time of year especially with a house full of kids. And considering it was March Break, I literally had a house full of kids.

And paintings to do. Things to write. People to catch up with. A house to purge (we’re moving soon).

Being sick wasn’t exactly in the cards.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you probably know that I am pretty active. I do a lot every day.

This is not a hey, I’m busy type of thing. Busyness is not productive.

This is more like I need to paint like most people need to breath. I’m constantly thinking about writing, planning out posts. I’ve got client work to do and yes… I’m about to do a major re-brand.

So being sick just stopped me in my tracks.

I spent a lot of time watching TV, which I don’t normally do but it was all I had the energy for. And it got me to thinking.

For all that I paint and write about pop culture, I don’t actually watch a lot of tv. There’s no real time in my day to do so. When I watch, it’s to look for painting ideas or sit with my kids and see what they’re up to. It’s active watching.

By Saturday I was dying of TV boredom.

TV is very passive. It’s an act of consuming. For a lot of people, there’s no other end to it. No fan fic to write. No paintings to make. Just enjoy the show for the sake of it.

And that’s fine on a small scale.

Have you read those info graphics? The ones that say that to be successful, you have to do certain things. Things like learn something new every day. Make conscious decisions. Oh and turn off the TV.

The stories we consume are important. They pull us together as a culture and not only tell us about ourselves but give us common ground.

But they also do something else – they fill a need for a lot of people. A need to assuage boredom. To give a thrill of adventure without having to actually do something. To take the viewer away from their maybe less than satisfying lives.

And this comes to why those info graphics talk about turning off the tv: it can fill your desire for something more without actually allowing you to create or find that something more.

At the end of the day, at the end of your life, do you want a life filled with “pizza, booze, telly”? Or a life filled with the things you actually did.