Couch Potatoes Are In

I call it CBGO: ‘‘can’t be bothered going out’’ syndrome; and it’s happening to many people I know.

When it comes to going out at night in particular, I’ve noticed myself and others around me growing increasingly lazy.

For my part, I’m hoping it was just winter. I’m hugely unhappy with the lack of energy I have once the sun goes down. There was a time — oh, there was a time — when pubs, nightclubs and theatre beckoned, when I couldn’t wait to put on heels and red lipstick and escape into the world.

Nowadays, at the end of a day I can’t think of anything better than putting on slippers and curling up on the couch with a good book or movie. My significant other feels the same.

What on earth is the matter with the human spirit when a night on the town can seem too hard? As I said, I’m hoping it’s just my loathing of the cold and the inevitable trauma of finding parking in Sydney. When my partner and I travel, especially in warm climates, we do have vim and vigour. During our time in New Orleans we rarely got home before dawn and in Manhattan our taste for clubs and performances was insatiable.

But there’s definitely something debilitating about the domestic state we find ourselves in back home, where moving away from the heater seems a chore. Perhaps I’ve answered my own question. It isn’t me/ us, or getting older, it’s the drain of responsibility. Of having to come home from work, pick up ingredients, cook dinner for many people, do homework or get kids into bed, and then attempt to get dressed again to do something exciting.

In stark contrast to my lamenting, a new study published in the quarterly academic journal Social Psycho- logical and Personality Science says that if you want to put some energy and willpower back into your life, don’t see friends or go out at night; rather, watch re- runs of your favourite television shows.

Apparently watching re-runs of a favourite TV show revives our ‘‘emotional bank accounts’’ without any effort, because of our familiarity with the worlds, characters and endings.

Such predictability and surrogate affection will refresh and restore us more than socialising or partying can, the study claims. Thus we are encouraged not to feel guilty but be comforted by our inner couch potato.

With studies like this, what hope have we of reviving anything other than a dreaded sense of sands through the hourglass? I say, ‘‘Lethargy be gone! Let’s get these bodies movin’ and groovin’.’’ Friends, let’s get together and party — perhaps later in the week.

Actually, I’m a bit tired this week. Maybe next. Actually, come over and let’s watch a movie instead.


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One Response to Couch Potatoes Are In

  1. Kim Oxley 10 October 2012 at 10:47 am #

    My husband and I have both done battle with cancer, and by choice stopped drinking about 6 years ago. Personally, I had no idea what a crutch it had become, but going out and standing with a glass of water in my hand at night thereafter became enlightening as I struggled to find non-tipsy conversation. My entire social circle is simply too tired come nightfall to get together often, and a book or a movie is my first choice. My friends and I seem to catch up over morning coffee and cake which may sound dull, but it seems to work! Too pooped to pop at night!

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