I’ve never really celebrated Lent. Mainly because growing up Mormon, the concept is redundant. So much of the faith is based on actively abstaining & denying the flesh. You don’t need Lent; your life is Lent.
But I found myself considering Ash Wednesday when glancing at my calendar. Here I am a month & a half into the new year & it feels like a good time to take stock. My first post for 2010 talked about living with intent, about seeking better connection with others. I specifically meant these to be goals for blogging, but I want them to extend beyond that sphere.
Admittedly, one thing that does keep me from having better connection with others in “the real world” is my media usage. Some of it is productive, like this blog & the writing one I share, This American Life podcasts, discovering Michael Martone’s personal cell phone number (oh wait, what?). A lot of it isn’t. Yeah, Facebook, I’m looking at you. & at you, North & South boxed set. Also, I had a long brainy talk with my friend Courtney about technology & humanity & I reached a decision.
In the spirit of Lent, I’ve decided to cut back big time on my electronic media usage. I would try to abstain, but I’m not sure it’s completely possible. Here are the ground rules:
- Electronic media usage that pertains to my day job is in the clear. Meaning I’ll have 8 hours of computer usage right there to be able to check personal email if I need to. But not Facebook, it’s blocked. Which is a good thing. Debating whether or not to cut out my MP3 player/CDs entirely.
- Electronic media usage at home only after 7pm. Which means no internet, no TV, no music. Cell phone will be allowed to make calls. I’ll try to limit any computer usage to 1.5 hours collectively, but again, we’ll see. (It sounds harsh, but if you think about it, that’s still nearly 10 hours in front of a computer counting my job.)
- Sundays are electronic media-free days. I tried this once before & it lasted for a month. Which means that any blog post for this blog or Rule #1 must be posted or set to post on Saturday. (Thank you, Interwebz, for the schedule post function.)
It sounds really bad, doesn’t it? But in the end, what I want to accomplish means more to me than any nuggets our technological world can offer. I want to find new ways to communicate with friends. I want to be forced to focus on writing projects. I want to be comfortable with the silence around me & in the back of my head. & finally, I just want to see a goal through. That’s the hardest thing for me to do & I’d like to be able to congratulate myself at the end of Lent.