Despite both not being a Christian, and when I was, not being a part of it that did Lent, a friend mentioned she was doing it last year and so I decided to do something too. I think the idea of giving up something for a month or more is a good experience. For Lent 2016 I gave up English media. And I kind of failed miserably, while still succeeding at the core goal of playing/reading way more in Japanese. It was probably one of the best things I did for my Japanese ability.
However, I did have some weaknesses, I would cave in on dumb youtube videos after a hard day of work and such every now and then.
When it came out I started playing Fire Emblem Heroes recently, a free to play gacha style social strategy RPG. It was addicting and compelling, with short feedback looks and an eternal amount of goals, and always something just close enough to make it worth playing on for. But the core game itself was pretty mindless and a gaming equivalent to mindlessly eating a bag of chips.
It got me thinking how much time I waste consuming non nourishing “junk food” in both the actual sense of the word, and in a broader sense. So, this year, I’m planning to have a nourishing lent!
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to watch youtube, or stop playing video games. It’s that I’m only going to see out the things that nourish me, that aren’t empty entertainment calories.
I’ve spent far too long watching silly 5 minute clips on youtube that are little more than a quick entertainment hit, too long reading bit sized articles that tell me something I didn’t really care about in the first place, and even playing games that only offer compulsion over fun.
Another junk part of my life is facebook. Sort of. A lot of people purely see FB as a waste of time, and it can be. Maybe 70-90% of it is wasted junk time. Sharing photos of silly comics and all that. But, I don’t believe that condemns it. I have quite a number of conversations that really do nourish me via the platform, and it is a way I really do keep in touch with those back home, so it is important to me outside of the quick fix of entertainment it can be.
In the interests of no junk though, I will change my methods of using facebook somewhat to accommodate this challenge. I will be using it for organizational reasons (events and such), using groups and status was needed to cover things if they need to. (examples might be, posting in a teaching group for advice on a problem, or communicating something to a wide amount of people via normal FB, such as “I’m getting married” or something), or if I want to encourage a particular conversation that will provide nourishment. So, basically, any use of facebook will be with purpose, and not for mindless browsing. This applies to twitter as well.
And of course, no junk food. For the purposes of this, I’m defining junk food as any food I wouldn’t eat as a primary activity for either its health reasons or taste. (although since I have a party to attend on the 4th, I’ll be starting this part then)
It’s worth noting this isn’t a lent about health. But about finding nourishment, of some kind from things and only doing those. You could say it’s taking the “spark joy” approach from Mari Kondo and applying it on a boarder scale.
Expected results from all this are a more nourishing month time unsurprisingly. But I expect for the first half I will find it a bit more exhausting not having anything mindless to go to after work for a while. But that I’ll soon adapt well enough. If you swap out all those times you watched 5 minutes of a kind of dull guy ranting about a dumb videogame thing, you might fit in a book a month perhaps?
Ultimately, I want to see how important to me these “junk” things are to me, as opposed to mindlessly continuing them.