I have a very unpopular opinion about something that people universally adore and couldn’t live without. I’m going to say something that may cause me to be an outcast in my own community. I’m expecting a torch-bearing mob to show up at my house any minute to burn me out of my home.
Netflix is a waste of time, and I canceled my subscription.
After you recoil in horror, put your eyes back in your head and listen to my story.
I haven’t owned a TV since I moved to the Philippines eight years ago. As part of the mission to change everything about myself, I realized I needed to cut out the things in my life that were wasting time. I needed all my time to work on me.
I was a mess.
Over the years, I learned to do things that didn’t involve vegging-out in front of the boob-tube. I signed up for courses on Udemy, and even went back to college for a short time. I read books and blogs. I wrote in my own blog every day about the things I was doing to be a better human, husband, and father.
A year ago, I started publishing daily on Medium. There was even a period I was posting up to three stories a day! I was feeling stressed and overworked and needed something to do when my wife was working instead of numbly scrolling through Facebook.
Enter Netflix. I saw a free month offer and signed up. I never really appreciated what it meant to binge-watch until that day. There were so many things I wanted to watch. How would I ever find the time for it all?
For the next week, I did nothing but watch 13 Reasons Why and a few other series on Netflix. I didn’t work. I ate in front of the TV. I have to credit my wife for not losing her mind completely during this period. She has the patience of a saint. She knew I needed to get it out of my system, so she let me sit in a dark room staring at my little laptop screen without completely losing her mind and kicking me to the curb.
I finally got to a point where I couldn’t watch any longer, so I walked away and didn’t think about it for a month. I went back to work in my office and fell into a writing rhythm again. Between creating essays and all the other things a stay-at-home father and husband must do to keep things moving in the house, I didn’t miss Netflix one bit.
After I hit publish on my latest masterpiece, I clicked over to Facebook to see what the writing community on Medium was doing. Then, I saw it. Netflix was running an ad for Birdbox, and after watching the trailer, I knew I had to see it. I mean, hey, Sandra Bullock! What’s not to like?
We were heading over to my in-law’s house, and they happen to have a 43” flat screen with surround-sound and my password for Netflix. I’d recently upgraded so they could watch movies at the same time we were.
Watching Birdbox on a big TV added a whole new element to movies that I hadn’t anticipated. We watched a few things on the big screen over the next few months — Bandersnatch, Stranger Things, Rim of the World.
The wife and I started looking for our own big screen, but we remembered my binge-watching and decided if we wanted time to work without interruption, we should probably skip buying a TV. We’d gone this long without one, why change now? We valued how quiet it was without it.
I watched a few more things on my laptop, but with the new baby and my increased motivation to work harder while my mental health was cooperating, I didn’t have much time to vegetate.
After three months of watching nothing on Netflix, I could no longer justify the $10 a month I was spending for something I didn’t use. $10 is 500 pesos here in the Philippines, and that goes a long way towards feeding us after we run out of money at the end of the month.
I can buy 3 kilos of pork for 500 pesos, and that’s a hell of a lot of pig parts.
So yesterday, I canceled my subscription and said goodbye to the one thing that many wouldn’t think of living without.
Last night, after making some very difficult decisions and arranging to get rid of our only transportation, we realized we are going to have a lot more down-time at home. It’s a long story that I will get into later, but the short story is we could no longer afford a new car, and couldn’t justify the damage we were doing to the environment using a gas-guzzler for short trips around town.
For now, we aren’t getting another car anytime soon. The Philippines affords us very inexpensive public transportation in the form of tricycles and jeepneys, and we plan to take advantage.
So without a car that we can easily take anywhere, we most likely will be spending a lot of time at home. It gets tiring staring at small screens all the time, so we bit the bullet and bought a television. It’s nothing fancy, just something we can watch movies from a USB on. It is a SmartTV though so we can also watch YouTube and play games on my cellphone.
Do you know what else we can access on our TV? Netflix.
I successfully got rid of Netflix for a total of 8 hours. I am a rebel. I buck society’s conventions and constructs. I do what everyone is too scared to do.
I ditched Netflix. For 8 hours.
Envy my courage.
This story was not curated. If you write and publish on Medium, you know what that means — a quick death. If not, it just means that it won’t be promoted to other readers on Medium.
But it doesn’t always have to be like this, and this is where I add value to your life. It works like this:
We all write free content for Medium. They don’t pay for it. The money we pay to be members is more than enough to pay the writers who are making money. In return for us writing millions of words of free content and paying the writers who engage with the readers (us again), Medium forbids us from adding any more than a simple text link to the bottom of posts to promote ourselves.
If you do everything right, you get curated.
I have no problem with that. I’ve been with Medium for over a year-and-a-half, and I absolutely fricking love that they gave me a platform to earn and share my writing. I tell everyone I know to join Medium and start writing.
But, if I don’t get curated, my stories die. I don’t earn. The only traffic I get comes in is from Google, and if the people they are sending are not Medium subscribers, I don’t get paid.
But Medium benefits greatly. Every time we bring eyeballs onto the platform, Medium gains authority and in turn, members. They also get income from writers paying them for exposure by featuring them in publications and other places on Medium, even if they aren’t members. It’s a great business model.
I thank Medium for giving me the platform, and I respect them, especially when they curate me and my stories live on.
So Medium, I love you, and if you curate me, I will follow the rules and only put a small text link to my newsletter at the bottom.
But, if I am not curated, I am going to use my work to promote myself and my brand.
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