Sorry if starting my post with a comic is all cliche and such, but I'm home for break this week and saw it in the paper this morning. It reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to blag about lately...
As many of you may know, it's Lent season, the 40 days (I think) before Easter. This time of year I'm always hearing about various things my friends are giving up for Lent--sweets, favorite foods, Facebook (a popular one these days), even spending money. My family has never followed this tradition (we're from a Presbyterian background), and personally I'd never understood it. As the comic demonstrates, it often seems forced--sort of a 'oh, it's Lent again; what am I giving up this year?' mentality. I've also been baffled by people who give up vices for Lent--if you realize it's a vice, it's rather inconsistent to give it up for 40 days, then go right back, isn't it? If you feel you need to give something up, why wait until Lent? Of course, this is all my outsider's perspective; I'd love to hear from others on their reasons for observing it.
Anyway, rather than conduct a survey or something, I acted on a calling and tried giving up something I enjoy. Last Wednesday night (which I'm pretty sure was Ash Wednesday), I shut down my my iPod Touch (which I consider my second brain and is usually attached to my belt) and tucked it in the back of my desk drawer. Since I'd recently lost my 80GB model (see my previous post on materialism), I was now iPod-less. And this right before a half-hour walk to Bible study.
The walk was actually pretty nice. I didn't notice how much time walking around gives for thinking until I got rid of musical distractions. (I still wear my headphones as earmuffs) And without the constant possibility of checking Facebook/E-mail or playing games wherever I am, I've been more able to focus on more important things. I wasn't planning on giving my second brain up for all 40 days, but I might just see how long I can keep it going.
More than a loss of distraction, though, shelving my iPod reinforced the lesson that losing my other iPod (it's already starting to seem ridiculous that I had two iPods) had taught me. You don't know just how attached you are to something until it's gone. Temporarily giving up something that isn't necessarily harmful lets you test what's really important to you. Far from feeling like I've done my 'Lenten duty' for the year, I'm beginning to think about what else I could give up!
Are you too attached to anything? Are you sure? There's an easy way to find out.