I am a binge-watcher. I know what it is like to find a show that interests you or manipulates you— one that makes you want to stare at the screen of your Mac and do nothing all day. Some even refer to this state of doing nothing as an art. If it really were, I would be proud to call myself a very successful and reputable artist, but I am now well aware of the consequences that come along with an inevitable desire to live by and for Netflix. Sure, you should satisfy your need of being entertained, mocked, dramatized, traumatized, encouraged, melancholized, relaxed or simply rewarded. However, the saying "Life is all about balancing," goes for your average time spent Netflixing.

During my midterm exams at high school, I binged Californication. It is a seven-season show that wouldn’t make much of a change in your life if it wasn’t present, but one that truly makes you want to keep going once you press start. I spent an incredible amount of hours watching the show when I could have simply invested that time for studying. I don’t know why I was so addicted to such a simple, yet dysfunctional family drama. However, that’s not the point here. Instead, I failed to balance my life in a logical or mindful way.

My mom would complain about my excessive use of Netflix after it surpassed any other activity in my life. It was a better choice for me than hanging out with friends at the same exact location every other weekend or paying regular visits to the houses of family members. I now understand her point: being into the fictional world of TV shows, movies or reality shows is understandably entertaining. However, when all that is combined in a single platform with endless opportunities, things can easily, and often subtly, get out of hand.

One thing is certain: Netflix offers something for everyone and just as you think you’ve seen it all, they surprise you either with a great suggestion or a newly added series. Now, there are two scenarios: you binge-watch the new addition as soon as it is upload, or you appreciate its worth and divide each episode into different days of the week in an organized way (or divide the seasons, at the very least). The latter is what I have learned to adopt over the course of my years in high school and it truly helped me balance my life and Netflix.

Though my daily dose of Netflix varied based on my mood, assignments and certain other external factors, I would generally watch one episode during breakfast (I woke up earlier for school than I was meant to because an episode of an admired show of mine was what boosted my morning happiness as a means of motivating me for the idea of getting to school). As soon as I came home from school, I watched another episode (or two) as I ate my dinner. Then just before going to sleep, I had to watch yet another episode (or again, two) because I believe it helped me get a better night’s sleep, or at least that’s what I convinced myself would happen.

A typical day of my life as a high school senior consisted of an average of four or five episodes, and I do not regret it. What I do regret is that I have set this monotonous arrangement for my self-Netflix-allowance policy a bit later than I should ideally have. I have spent exam weeks, holidays and weekends uselessly throughout high school because Netflix occupied most of my free time. Some days I still feel like doing nothing and as long as I don’t have a deadline or exam approaching, I allow myself to enjoy a day of Netflix because it truly helps me psychologically. Moreover, I cannot stress enough the contribution TV shows have made to my personal use and understanding of the English language, broadened my perspective upon various fields and helped me feel whatever mood I wanted to be in. It acts as an excuse for me to escape from the unwanted aspects of reality and to enter a world of my choice and it helps even if it lasts for a limited time.

If you learn to implement Netflix into your daily routine of necessities, priorities and obligations, and not centralize Netflix into your life, you should do just fine. Just make sure you are aware of the manipulative power Netflix can and probably does hold over you. Be smart, move ahead and avoid over-intensive Netflix usage. Speaking from experience, a balanced amount of Netflix will do you more good than harm. Learn to balance your life. Spend time with your friends, show your family how much you really care about them and take your studies seriously. Let Netflix be a tool to guide you through your hard times as you try to get the things in your life together— but don’t let it shape your life. Be inspired by Netflix, but do not let it lead you or your life!

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