“The next episode of 'Grey’s Anatomy' will play in 15 seconds,” you read on your screen as Netflix churns out the next chapter in the McDreamy saga.
Without even having to blink an eye, you are soon watching season 8, episode 12, and wondering how you got here. You haven’t moved in hours. There is a small crust building at the corners of your mouth from the Cheetos you ate two — or was it three? — episodes ago. You’ve been at it for hours. Maybe even days.
This is the binge generation.
It’s in all the music we listen to, all the books we read, all the shows we watch. Millennials are addicts. Be it to music, Gilmore Girls, alcohol, love or other drugs, this generation knows how to sell its soul to something and do almost nothing else.
We indulge in over-consumption. We revel in gorging ourselves. This is what we do, and this is all we know, but hey, we aren’t entirely to blame.
We hear it in our favorite songs playing on the radio on our way to Dunkin' Donuts for the fifth time this week — in the words of the Chainsmokers: “I drink too much and that’s an issue, but I’m OK" and in the lyrics of our pals the Snakehips: “All my friends are wasted” — and we begin to get it inscribed into our minds that addiction, obsession and binging are normal, even healthy, in the grand scheme of things.
But this is where we’re wrong.
A study done by the Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that 44 percent of students surveyed in the study willingly admitted to being consistent binge drinkers, and 19 percent of the total reporting that they binge drink quite frequently. A Time magazine article recently published that, in a sitting, the average Netflix-user streams one hour and 33 minutes of content — the equivalent to two episodes of a full-length drama, four episodes of a sitcom or one movie.
An article released in USA Today remarks that the average college student gains nine pounds in their first semester from overeating. This could easily be due to stress. Young people everywhere are binging too much on the things they enjoy and are becoming products of an over-saturated society.
This generation has an issue with binging on everything and anything because we are told it’s okay and it’s what “everyone else seems to be doing.” But there’s another way to look at this dilemma: We can either embrace it and drown slowly in our overwhelming oceans of addiction, or we can go against the grain and try to employ a little something known as moderation.
This is our opportunity to rise above the crowd and vouch for personal health, the power of doing things over time and taking things in average doses, not choking back a world of television, movies, Adele songs, Pillsbury crescents, iPhone games, food or drink at once.
We can stand against our friends and the popular media they’re exposed to every day and do something crazy — that is, go to bed before midnight because you only watched one episode of "Parks and Recreation," not have to spend hours at a time at the gym because you only ate one serving of pasta for dinner and stay in and drink hot chocolate on a Saturday night instead of something stronger.
Moderation is the key to avoiding stress, weight gain and this underlying feeling so common to college students known as being overwhelmed. Moderation is a friend of mine and I’m sure the two of you would get along.
Just promise me you’ll hang out with him, even if it’s just once, OK?
This column appeared in the January 18, 2017 edition of The Pendulum. Columns are written by ENN staff members and represent their informed opinions. Columns and other opinions content are separate from news coverage.