[photo via death to the stock photo]
growing up, i always struggled with the meaningfulness of giving something up for Lent. maybe that’s because the most common things to give up are typically certain foods or food groups, and while ditching your diet coke habit for awhile or laying off the sweets is probably a good idea in general, i just personally have trouble drawing a spiritual connection there, which makes it less purposeful for me.
after many admittedly half-hearted years of “sacrificing” certain things, i decided this year that i’d really like for kevin and i to do something intentional, and after lots of thinking, we decided that something intentional would be to give up watching tv (which for us includes netflix and hulu plus, since we don’t have cable). on the surface it probably sounds just as superficial as giving up your favorite food, but i think it’s bigger than that, and here’s why.
a typical weeknight evening in our house goes something like this: walk in door, hang up coats (ok, throw coats on ground or nearest piece of furniture), put on pajamas (at 6pm? yes, really), make dinner (unless it’s monday, which is obviously burrito + Bachelor night), pretend that we’re going to eat said dinner on our beautiful wood table from west elm that i just had to have, and without words unanimously decide that no, let’s sit on the couch, turn tv on, and proceed to stay passively planted there for most of the rest of the night.
it hasn’t always been this way. and in fact, i think i can blame (or at least explain) a lot of it on the weather. we’ve survived without cable for years and barely turn the tv on in the summer, but in the winter – and especially this ridiculously cold winter – it’s been a problem. in fact, i’ve noticed myself internally deciding that we can’t do x because x show is on. we can’t work on the basement because Scandal is back on this week, duh! we can’t go on a run tonight because it’s The Women Tell All show. since when did a tv show being on count as having actual plans? #lowpoint
the thing is, we know better. i like tv. i like following certain shows. i like that kevin and i watch almost everything that we watch together. but i also know that sometimes we’re choosing tv because it’s the easy, passive choice. it doesn’t require any thought. even though there are other things that i genuinely enjoy doing, those things require thinking, planning, work. and it gets easier and easier to just say no. as i’ve gotten older, i’ve realized that just as important – and maybe more important – as choosing something to not do, is choosing something to do.
so, in an effort to live more intentionally this Lenten season, and hopefully beyond, we’re saying no to tv and yes to all the things we’d really like to be doing instead and consequently, saying yes to each other (because both of us scrolling through our iPads while the tv is on hardly counts as quality time).
here are a few things we’re looking forward to focusing on over the next 6 weeks:
- finishing our basement floor, putting the furniture back in, choosing new decor together, and spending time together in a new space we can be proud that we refinished all by ourselves
- redesigning the blog to include a new feature that we’re pretty excited about
- continuing to teach ourselves coding and web design
- running more regularly in preparation for the lincoln half marathon in may
- dusting off our big camera and leaving our iphones behind some days, instead of the opposite
- spending time reading and working through recipes from the giant modernist cuisine cookbook that we purchased months ago but have barely opened
- sending more snail mail and calling friends that we don’t call enough
- and whatever else comes up!
if you’ve made it all the way through, thank you. i try not to get “religious” very often on here, but i wanted to write this in hopes of inspiring others to do something similar, to take a look at whatever it is that’s holding you back, to just say no to whatever that is, and to spend some time living more intentionally – whether it’s for Lent or just for life.
p.s. no scandal spoilers, please.