Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summertime Sadness: You Don't Know What You got Till It's Gone

I learned something about myself this summer. I spent the past 3 months in Alaska working as a fly-fishing guide at a lodge accessible only via float plane, living off the grid with no real connection to the outside world. While I easily had the most spectacular summer of my life so far, there was one thing missing in my life: television. As a TVR student, it's obvious that I enjoy consuming and creating media in various forms. However, I didn't realize just how big a part media consumption was in my life until it was out of my reach entirely. 

I left for the summer with only two episodes left in the fifth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones. After spending a few days in Anchorage preparing for my journey into the bush, I was casually talking with another guide I would be working with about streaming the last two episodes so that I could see how the season ended. The guide shot me a confused look and told me that there would be no possible way for me to watch any shows, let alone the last two episodes of an HBO series. At first, I was dumbfounded. I spent my entire life with immediate access to television and other media; I had no reason to believe that Alaska would be any different. I began to reason that surely the lodge had a satellite internet service or something that could fulfill my TV needs. The other guide, who had spent previous summers in the bush, quickly shot down any hopes I had left. I had to accept that this would be my first summer without TV or movies EVER.

I'm not going to lie to you, it wasn't easy. 

I never realized how much I relied on television and movies to help get me through a day. I soon discovered that consuming media acted as a very important tool to help me decompress and unwind from my day; I will often come back from a long day of classes and meetings and sit in my recliner for an hour or so and simply do nothing but watch a show. No contact with the outside world, no activity, just me and my show. I love getting lost in the narrative of a program, wether it is a critically acclaimed film or just another Seinfeld rerun. The ability to get lost in the fictional world provides a respite from the stresses of the day and allows me to rest and recuperate my mind. 

All of that was absent this past summer. I was forced to find other methods of relaxation to wrap up my long days of work. It was difficult at first; I tried to scheme up ways to fulfill my need for media consumption, but by the end of the summer I had taken the old fashion route and settled with a good book. While not as visual as I was used to, it still permitted me access to another, less stressful world. 

 I am happy to say that upon my return to the lower 48 just last week I immediately attempted to make up for all of my lost time, catching up on all of my shows that I had so painfully been torn away from all summer. I went and saw Jurassic World (meh) and am currently taking full advantage of the cable in my room. Now that is all said and done, I am actually glad that I had this media-less experience this summer. While it was hard, it also reaffirmed my love for all things TV and film and made me realize what I like most about media and how it impacts my life specifically, which I believe will make me a better creator of media in the long run.  

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