One of my favorite times of the year is Lent. Yeah, I know, it sounds weird. In being Catholic, one of the Lenten beliefs is that you should give up one luxury from Ash Wednesday (yesterday) through Easter Sunday.
Now I don’t necessarily love Lent because I’m a devote Catholic…in fact I’ve fallen off the bandwagon more than I’d like to admit. However, I think people everywhere should practice the Lenten sacrifice for two reasons: one to be grateful and appreciative for what you already have and two to use it as an opportunity to give up any vices. In the past I’ve given up sweets, alcohol, shopping, caffeine, sweets again…you name it! This year I already gave up whining and talking bad about others for March, so I had to come up with something else.
A couple weeks ago I forgot my iPhone at work in the gym. I was at the train station and I had a choice to either bike back to work and miss my train (therefore be home almost 45 minutes later than usual) or else go without my phone. I opted for the latter, partly out of sheer laziness. That night and the next morning I was severely uncomfortable and anxious to not have my phone; one would have thought my only child was missing for the night. I then realized how obsessive my iPhone habits were. Since then I’ve been more aware of my iPhone usage. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my email and social media. The last thing I do at night is check my email and social media. I’ve even found that when I’m taking a quick bathroom break I’ll check my email and social media. When I get on the train I’ll check email and social media. Since work has been busier than usual I don’t have time during the day to check up on that stuff, so I make every effort to do so when I’m away from my desk.
I knew an intervention had to happen and Lent was the best time to do it. Instead of going cold turkey on Sunday I deleted social media from my iPhone. Monday and Tuesday I deleted even more apps. Effective yesterday morning I shut off my personal and work email without checking it. So far I have been successful, but that’s not to say it’s not uncomfortable. However, I am finding the extra time useful. Last night, when I’d usually be catching up on social media or Pinterest I did my taxes on my laptop. This morning, when I would usually be in bed checking my phone as my KISA was getting for ready for work we instead had a conversation (weird, I know). I actually forced myself this morning to shower and be getting ready for work before hauling out my laptop to check my email (no social media, though). What’s odd is that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything social media-wise by not checking it, but my email is a whole different story.
I’ve realized that we’ve created a society where communication comes through email or instant messaging. I communicate more with friends and coworkers via email rather than the phone – my family and a couple of dear friends are the only exception. If someone emails me about something I feel the need to email back instead of calling. I wait for good news via email instead of a phone call.
So, we’re two days in and I haven’t died yet. I guess if Jesus went for 40 days and 40 nights without food I’ll be ok.