Seeing as it’s the early days of 2012, I have been finalizing my list of resolutions for this year. Unlike the rest of you, I’m really good at keeping resolutions. Last year I resolved to bring my lunch to work everyday, and for the most part, I did. The year before I wanted to stop saying “like” so much, and you know what? I did. Though everyone seems to forget their resolutions, mine always go checked. I’m just great at resolving.
Resolutions are promises we make with ourselves to avoid simply admitting our bad habits. They are a beacon of hope in an exercise that would otherwise seriously questioning one’s character, which for most of us might be damaging. Most resolutions are made in order to move forward, live life a little fuller, and improve the lives of everyone around you as well as your own.
My addiction to the TV show "Lost" was debilitating. Throughout the six years it was on, it ruled my life. Any person I would meet would immediately be pegged to a character on the show, and shortly that person I just met would be as obsessed with the show as I was. All of my friends and family watched it, making them all enablers. I didn’t go to Comic-Con or buy Dharma Initiative t-shirts (I’m looking at you, Mom); my addiction was much worse as I turned to the show for advice and life guidance. I became invested in the lives of the fictional characters I watched on television and read about each week. My friends and I watched the show at bars when we were too poor to have a TV, and we made friends with the drifters that came to watch the show each week and never bought drinks, just warmed their hands by the fireplace.
I never saw the show as a bad habit, but it was something I needed that didn’t necessarily make me a better person. I know it’s not healthy to relate every personal emotional turmoil of mine to the comings and goings of fictional people on a mythical island. Examples: when I was unemployed I watched the episode where the gang creates a golf course to get ideas of what to do with my time (I ended up making a golf course, of course). Whenever I was hungry, I craved a papaya and super-sharp knife to cut it with because John Locke looked so cool (and satisfied) when he did it. When I graduated college, I truly thought of Hurley and all that ranch dressing, though I’m not totally sure why.
"Lost" could have ended with all of them discovering that they were actually in Florida the whole time and I would have been fine with it. I really just liked watching it, and didn’t care what the story was. I liked Sayid’s pain, I liked when Claire went bonkers, and I even liked when Charlie died! It was so beautiful, even my brother cried. But now that the show has been over for more than a year, I realize that the void in my life that "Lost" left has not been filled.
I’ve been trying to find a substitute; "Breaking Bad", old episodes of "The Wire", and "Terra Nova" had come very close to satiating my need to relate to characters that look dirty all the time but are still really beautiful under the glistening sweat makeup. Plus my need for monsters and dinosaurs. And then of course Terra Nova was canceled because it was awful.
I resolved that this was the year that I would stop messing around and would, once and for all, find a substitute for "Lost" and stop watching the same episode of Juliet being sucked into that radio tower ditch (I really hated her) over and over. But should I be breaking this habit altogether instead? I’m not sure that being obsessed with a show enhances my quality of life, and if it were anyone else, I would say they’re being lazy and wasting their passion on something that will never truly take them anywhere. Is it important to invest time in stories or a waste?
On Saturday, I stayed in all night to watch the entire first season of The Walking Dead. I’ve always hated zombies because they scare me more than anything. Slow walking creatures that can eat you? A storyline that makes you question the hope of humanity? The inevitable shopping mall scene? No thank you. I went to see I Am Legend because I thought it was going to be Hitch 2, and boy was that a mistake. I vowed never again...but there I was on Saturday, sitting with my closest friends and screaming for somebody to shoot that zombie gas attendant in the head.
Perhaps there are no dinosaurs in this show, and perhaps it’s not even that good. But there are people around me who will watch it with me and scream louder than I can. Maybe it’s not that healthy to become obsessed with a show, but if I only do it socially, it’s not an addiction, right?