What if life were simpler, like on TV shows?

Don Draper Drinking

Dedicated to the winners and the losers, Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Dedicated to all Jeeps and Land Cruisers, Can it be that it was all so simple then?
-Wu-Tang Clan, “Can It Be All So Simple”

Some of the best shows that are or were on TV take place in another era. Shows like Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Downton Abbey, and Mad Men portray how times were back in the day in different parts of the (sometimes made-up) world. When I watch these shows and think about how life was so simple, I sometimes ponder whether I would have rather lived in those eras as opposed to now.

Technology has no doubt made us more connected, efficient, and productive. But it has, to some extent, shortened our attention spans, trivialized relationships, and overwhelmed us with content. So, would I trade today’s complex, gadget-based life for a simpler, less cluttered life back then? Let’s compare.

  • Game of Thrones – Days filled with practicing sword fighting or archery, drinking arbor wine and eating salted beef and pigeon pie seem pretty cool, but I’ll pass on riding horses all day, ugly clothes, and not bathing.
  • Deadwood – Pan for gold, sell some tools, drink whiskey, visit a whorehouse and form a government – not a terrible life. But the bumpy dirt roads, uncomfortable boots (I have flat hooves and those boots would hurt) and risk that someone can just come up and shank or shoot me outweighs all the good simple things.
  • Downton Abbey – Life’s pretty good if you’re a Crawley, but even getting waited on all day might get annoying, and so might those accents.
  • Mad Men – Sipping whiskey or vodka at 11am while thinking of clever taglines, followed by a liquid lunch with a client, followed by a nap on the couch in your office, followed by a liquid dinner, all while styling in a sweet suit? Awesome! Transistor radios and black and white TVs don’t compare to iPods and HDTVs but I think we might have something here.

All non-funny jokes aside, I wouldn’t trade today’s life for any of those in the above TV shows. But there are times when I’m overwhelmed with emails, tweets, newsletters, meeting requests, etc. and I just want to sit back, take a swig of vodka and score a nap.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed with a ton of communications and content? How do you disconnect from the clutter that technology brings? Would you trade today’s life for the simple life in one of those shows?

6 thoughts on “What if life were simpler, like on TV shows?

  1. I think I would’ve thrived in the Mad Men era, but I don’t think I could go back to that time from this time and survive. I’m too used to being connected even if it’s not necessarily for the better. I just think going back would be like having a full on drug addiction and not only being forced to drop it cold turkey, but at the same time having to wear a nice suit.

  2. I hate when I leave my phone at home or don’t have access to it for several hours. I feel so detached from the world and sense a bit of anxiety knowing that my phone is blowing up with emails and messages. That’s when I realize that technology has taken over my life. But then again, so much of my business is run through my phone so I justify that feeling. But would I trade it for the lives in tv shows…NAH! I just keep it at bay and make sure that it doesn’t rule me. I force myself to go for a run (you’d be surprise how many runners have their phones on them) or take my dog for a walk w/o it or sometimes just leave it at home on my days off. When I come home from a long day, I disconnect from it, let it charge and don’t touch it until I need to set my alarm and go to bed….or at least I try. 🙂

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