When I was setting New Year’s resolutions for 2020 last year, I wrote in my journal… “Be more thoughtful about media consumption.” At that point, I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, but I knew that it was something that I needed to do.
In a world where so many different stimuli are constantly vying for our attention, it can just be exhausting. Not only is there pressure to stay relevant by binging the latest Netflix series, watching the new Marvel movie, or reading the most-talked-about book, but every business is trying to get you to engage with their brand at every opportunity. Too much!
This made the need for thoughtful media consumption even more important for me. Instead of just taking everything in as fast as possible, I wanted to be able to actually process those cultural moments and learn from them.
From that resolution, I ended up challenging myself to journal after every movie I watched. I already loved watching movies, but the point of this activity was to give myself space in my journal to think through themes and takeaways from the movie.
I ended up enjoying this process so much that I extended this courtesy to television shows, video games, books, and even events. That’s the main reason why my journal is now completely full!
I call this activity a Media Reflection. I even came up with a definition…
Media Reflection – noun. Thoughtful, personal recollection of themes, lessons, and observations from a movie, television show, video game, book, news broadcast, or other form of media.
As I was practicing this, I experimented with formulas, templates, and other ways to organize my thoughts, but I always got the most out of it when I let the pen guide me through a blank page or two.
Here are the questions that I’d ask myself if I ever get stuck…
- What made this media memorable?
- Which aspects of the media moved me and why?
- How did this relate to my life?
- Were there any takeaways that I can carry with me?
Sometimes I felt like a movie critic, other times a philosopher, and occasionally an archivist. No two were the same, and I loved that. Looking back on the last year of media, I realize how this small act of intention to be more reflective has led to richer experiences.
I can feel the suede on my lumpy Minneapolis couch during this year’s re-watch of School Of Rock. I can taste the Jelly Beans that I paired with a breathtaking showing of Portrait Of A Lady On Fire — one of the last movies I saw in theaters before the pandemic. I can hear the House Sparrows chirping as I tore through the Harry Potter books while swinging in my child-sized hammock.
So give it a try. You can do one right now with the last movie you watched on the back of a piece of junk mail (or preferably in a journal). Happy Reflecting!