....Well, not exactly. But let's do the math: on the average workday, you might spend 8 hours (1/3 of your day) at work. Let's pretend for simplicity's sake that you actually get the 8 hours recommended for sleep, leaving 1/3 of your day for other stuff. Subtract meals, getting ready in the morning and your commute, you've got your discretionary time. In this example, let's call it 4 hours. Are you going to claim those hours for YOUR life, or will you donate them to the lives of imaginary TV characters?
It's an issue that's been bugging me lately. We're up to date with the struggles of McBeamy and the Desperate vampires as they solve mysteries with science and witty repertoire, but not so up to date on the struggles of our family, church and neighbors. We know more about the lives, thoughts and dreams of whoever got the rose on America's Got the Biggest Idol than we do our good friends.
A friend & I were talking about this the other night, and she put it well: "I feel like we're not really living. We're sitting, staring at this box, while the fake people in it are the ones really living." We're handing hours of our lifespan to this box.
But it goes farther than just the time we're giving--we kid ourselves that we're participating, living, somehow. Games, movies, social networking replace doing things in the world. Our second life is more interesting than our real one. Rather than making our own memories, we reminisce over funny YouTube videos. If two or more people are staring at the same screen, we're consider it time spent "together". Our Sabbath rest is replaced by a digitally anesthetized state. We open our game apps at red lights, bank lines, even when a human is sitting across from us at the dinner table. Our impulses for adventure, impact, fighting for what we believe in are dulled, artificially satisfied by experiences we're not having.
As Christ followers, we're characters in the best story ever authored. Yet, we've traded our lives--the time allotted for enjoying it, spreading it, living it--for a stream of mediocre stories. Like the bad steward burying his master's money, we have nothing to show for the wasted time.
I like movies and TV shows and games. I laugh out loud at crazy penguins on YouTube, too. I like entertainment--I'm just not sure I want to give up my life for it.