Life Is a Banquet: Be Careful What You Put on Your Plate

Updated on September 21, 2019
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Ready or Not

There’s a new movie out titled “Ready Or Not” about a bride being “initiated” into a new, super wealthy family by playing a deadly game of hide-and-seek. It’s a horror/dark comedy, that features horrific deaths by a variety of antique weapons. As I finished reading the review, I said “I don’t need that in my life” out loud to myself.

Inspired by my reaction, I began thinking about the many other things that I don’t want, or don’t need in my life. The list is fairly long, so I’m going to summarize by category. Perhaps some of you will relate.

Trashy Entertainment

We have cable TV, subscribe to Netflix, have access to YouTube, plus we have Amazon Prime Video. In other words, I have access to more content than I could possibly consume in several lifetimes. Therefore, I can afford to be highly selective. I prefer comedy, musicals, science fiction, romcoms, historical fiction, documentaries, and the occasional drama. What does that leave out? Well, here are my “To Don’ts” when it comes to selecting entertainment:

  • Grisly Horror and Suspense
  • Thrillers, especially with torture scenes
  • Military and War movies
  • Anything with the name “Kardashian” in it
  • Most “Reality” TV shows (which are NOT truly “reality” anyway)

And speaking of “reality,” let’s talk about the news.


I’m also selective about how much “news” I watch. Regardless of which “side” you’re on, I’m sure you’ll agree that most broadcast news shows are all about ratings. Truth, accuracy, and just plain decency seems to have taken a back seat. Take for example an article in the Sunday, September 15, 2019 edition of The New York Times, with fresh allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. The damage was already done when they published a major revision, which revealed that the alleged “victim” had no recollection of the episode in question. Truth, it would seem, is less important than drama and inflammatory reporting that increases sales. This all reminds me of my next category.

Toxic Politics

As a concerned citizen of the USA, I very much want to stay abreast of what is going on in my country, and around the world. I try very hard to find out what is actually going on, and care very little for the “spin” that I hear on too many so-called news programs.

I have the best luck with either watching the local and regional news, or with One America News Network. I also select my online sources carefully. So much of what is written as “news” is little more than thinly veiled partisan attacks. Just tell me what happened, and let me make up my own mind what it means.

Social Media

Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Quora, and other social media sites can take up every minute of your waking hours if you allow them. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy sharing humor and pithy sayings just as much as the next person. I just don’t feel the need to check in every few minutes. I have cut back from previous levels, and I intend cut more and more. One big guideline, which I rarely break, is to refrain from “debating” politics on Facebook. It’s just isn’t the proper forum, and usually just upsets me. So in the case of social media, less is definitely more.


If there is a football game, or a basketball game, or a fill-in-the-blank ball game playing in the background, I find that I can completely tune it out. I have been known to sit next to my husband, facing the TV set while a sports program is on. This does not mean that I am watching the game. It means that I’m being “present” with hubby, while he enjoys himself. If it wasn’t for his fascination with sports, I would probably never tune in, except perhaps the halftime show during the Super Bowl.

Negative People

This category is somewhat tougher, because you can’t avoid all negative people. There are too many of them, and sometimes you need them because of a particular skill or expertise. But when I have a choice, I avoid negative people like the plague. That’s an easy add to my “To Don’t” list. The trick is to spot them early on, before they suck all the air out of the room.

What About You?

What about you? Do you have a “To Don’t” list? Has this article inspired you to create one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below, unless of course writing comments is on your “To Don’t” list. In which case, I understand. Really, I do.

What do you think about having a "To Don't" list?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Carolyn Fields


Submit a Comment
  • Abitha Deepak profile image


    8 months ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu


    Lovely thought. I believe everyone needs such a list. Minimalism of every kind can help us think with clarity and spend time on things and people that matter.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    9 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Alyssa - hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

  • Alyssa Nichol profile image


    9 months ago from Ohio

    Oh I love this idea, Carolyn! My list looks very similar to yours. Time is precious and we should all prioritize what means the most, shedding the things that are completely unnecessary or irrelevant to our lives. I think people would be a lot happier as a whole if they did this. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • profile image


    9 months ago

    I have to confess, I do LOVE horror films. But my to don't list includes getting angry about stuff that isn't worth it. It's something I am prone to.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    9 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks, Pamela.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 months ago from Sunny Florida

    I also limit the amount of news I watch. I don't do horror movies or ones with too much violence. I don't watch anything that has violence against children or women either. My taste for entertainment is similar to yours. Your article is very interesting and it has a good list.


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