Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and I usually spend most of Fat Tuesday trying to figure out what exactly I will be giving up for Lent. I debate all day and try and think of something new, then fall back on my old standby: pop. It’s been like this for years. Once I gave up popcorn. Another time I gave up ice cream. I’m embarrassed to admit that a few years ago I was going through a really tough time and I gave up nothing because I was so sad on a daily basis. Taking away comfort foods seemed out of the question. But for the most part, I say goodbye to pop for 40 days. My brother often does the same thing and we clink our glasses of Mountain Dew (him) and Coca Cola (me) together during our family Easter dinner.
This year, though, I’m giving up something different. I wanted to think outside of the box and put aside something non-edible that I really enjoy. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how much time I spend in front of a screen. I know it’s unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly engaging with screens. My cell phone and computer are one thing. They are both tied extensively to the blogs, my TpT store, and my social media accounts. Yes, all of those things bring me joy, but they are tied to my business and are necessary for our livelihood. The satisfaction I get from doing my work is just an added bonus and not something I feel compelled to sacrifice.
There is, however, another type of screen that I engage with far too often: the TV screen. Specifically, the binge-watching of Netflix on my TV and iPad. Much like blogging, TV also brings me joy. And like most other adults my age, binge-watching my latest TV show has become my favorite pastime. Even as I type this post on my Macbook, my living room TV is turned on and paused in the middle of an episode of Parks and Recreation. I am alternating my attention between two different TV screens. I often watch Netflix on my iPad while I curl my hair, apply my makeup and get dressed each morning. Cooking dinner in the kitchen? Netflix keeps me company. I watch entirely too much TV. And unlike my time spent blogging or working on social media, I have nothing to show for my time. Binge watching Netflix is completely unhealthy, fills my head with fictional nonsense and drastically reduces my productivity.
Am I giving up TV completely for Lent? No. Just Netflix. I will still allow myself to unwind a little each day by catching the latest episode of my current TV shows. Will I start to binge-watch a new show on Hulu? No again. Burying myself in a new binge-watching platform completely erodes my Lenten sacrifice and I’m not looking for a loophole to cheat the system.
And if you’re doing the math as you read this post, yes. I know. I will have to wait til’ Easter to watch “Fuller House.” That part might kill me a little, but I’ll survive somehow.
Just in case you’re wondering … Rob isn’t giving up Netflix for Lent. He does not share my great love of television and spends far more time with his nose in a book than his eyes on a screen. This is purely my Lenten sacrifice. Rob will have to wait for Easter to arrive so we can watch “House of Cards” together. It’s one of the few shows that we enjoy watching together.
So how will I spend my time? I’m hoping to shift my morning time getting ready back to how it used to be. I often have my best ideas when my mind wanders while I curl my hair. The morning downtime is also a chance to listen to some of my favorite podcasts (like This American Life and ProBlogger).
In the evenings, I plan to spend more time enjoying our latest recreational pastime: jigsaw puzzles.
Our Darth Vader puzzle was completed long ago and our new puzzle is scheduled to arrive today. Rob and I decided that da Vinci’s portrayal of The Last Supper would be a perfect fit for the Lenten season. I’m excited to spend some screen-free quality time with my husband while we work on the puzzle. You’re welcome to “steal our idea” and spend some quality jigsaw puzzle time with your family too this Lent. Click on the image below to purchase the same puzzle or find a different (easier) puzzle of The Last Supper on Amazon. (Each of these links are affiliate links to shop on Amazon that help to financially support our blog.)
What are your Lenten plans? Do you prefer to give something up or do acts of service for others? Do you think you’ll join us in our Lenten jigsaw puzzle? Do you love to watch TV as much as I do? Could you give up Netflix for 40 days? I have so many questions for you! Please share your thoughts and Lenten traditions in the comments. Rob and I would love to read what you and your family do.