Like most human beings, I like free stuff. Things automatically become better when you don’t have to part way with your money – admit it.
So when Netflix was running one month free trial there was no hesitation in signing up. For one whole month I watched back to back series of TV shows I had never previously spared a thought for, and indulged in movies I would have never been interested in otherwise. As you could probably guess, my productivity and outgoingness plummeted.
I abused that free trial. I had some random show running in the background whilst I was busy with other things, just because I could! I watched as much as I physically could, and the cheesy repertoire of movies and TV series did not deter me from wasting hours of my life hooked up to Netflix.
Oh, you just want to watch one 20 minute historic episode of a show which you are up to date with in real life? How about we count down to the next episode and the ultimate binge?
But the free trial was only for a month. At the end the unproductive 30 day streak of being another Netflix zombie I was released from my chains. Like most people who do a free trial for anything I had no intention to stay signed up.
Quickly, my life became my own again. I continued with hobbies that I had ditched so thoughtlessly when I was glued to my computer screen. My productivity jumped up. I restarted conversations with friends I hadn’t seen for a month. Yes, my life was back on track. And it stayed that way for a year and a half.
Then one day, for reasons still unknown to me, I entered Netflix into the trusty search engine. Bear in mind this activity was done on a computer which was recently purchased – brand spanking new. Oh and my internet provider had changed three times since my last Netflix stint. Anyway, soon after closing the browser window there was no trace of Netflix in my memory. Life continued unaffected.
Three weeks later my very smart phone informed me of a new email in my inbox. It was from Netflix! WHAT? HOW? HUH? For an entire year and a half since our break up, Netflix doesn’t acknowledge my existence but now it has hunted me down and wants to lure me into another trap. It was an eerily personal email – as if some employee was given the sole task of waiting on my possible interest in wasting my life again. They had figured out I was stingy and were offering me another free trial. I resisted – I am in exam season after all, my waking hours should be spent memorising textbooks, and my sleeping hours should be minimal. I resisted because I had other priorities, important ones I couldn’t jeopardise for a few hours of visual entertainment.
Unfortunately, like a chubby kid who was offered a chocolate cake, my resistance was futile and soon enough I signed my life away. Now my days are spent watching archaic episodes of Modern Family and movies which never did well in the box office – for a reason. I have an entire month of this. But it won’t become a monthly commitment – and my reasons are not just monetary, but I need my life back. These are the moments when I wish for more self-control, for strength to resist the charm and lure of free things. I will work on all of that, once I’m done watching the desperately unfunny stand-up comedy show which has been running in the background as I write this post.
Vive la (self) revolution!