We celebrate Easter for 50 days here, and I thought I would do blog check that focused on Lent. The 40 days prior to Easter are when I make my New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of Jan. 1, I find that Ash Wednesday works for me. I feel some family accountability through Lenten practices. Similar to a theatre production, everyone in the family (and the Church, whether they are at my own parish or not), checks in with each other for a grand, shared project in discipline and celebrates when Easter arrives.
Some Lenten things end up being lifestyle changes. Eating less carbs is one. Beginning each morning with recorded daily Scripture readings is another. This year, I revisited a radio fast and instituted a new, strict bed time. How did that go for me?
The radio thing was pretty natural for me. With the radio fast, I was driving in a silent car for most of 40 days. A local homeschool mom wrote years ago about fasting from talk radio as being a helpful thing for her life. I tried it (this was the early 2000’s), and used my travel time to strategize current life dilemmas, call my mom, etc. Exchanging the distraction of radio for more immediate things was fine for periods of two weeks or so was good. Kind of a reset on life.
I began a media fast during the 2016 presidential campaign. My quality of life without campaign craziness was great. I heard people saying that they were having arguments over news stories and Facebook posts and tweets. With my media fast, I couldn’t participate in discussion over those things! It was great for me.
Prior to the presidential media fast, music frequently reminded me of painful relationship points with my husband, so I’d already restricted radio when Ash Wednesday rolled around. It didn’t seem much of a stretch to completely quit radio this year. So while a radio fast wasn’t too difficult, I am not keeping my fast. News radio is my only current issue input. I don’t use TV or the internet for news. (I don’t watch TV much.) The local newspaper isn’t enough for me.
My new Lenten bedtime was 10:30 p.m. This is VERY early for me. It was helpful to be in my bedroom, without electronics at 10:30. I had many great nights of sleep. However, my non-sleep quality of life went downhill. I simply can’t get everything done with an early bedtime. When I have meetings and teach at night, I don’t really have family dinner time for reconnecting with everyone; when I don’t get home until 9 p.m., I finally settle down at 9:45 p.m., leaving very little time to myself, my contract jobs, and family. I don’t know a way to be more efficient with my schedule. I am happy to be done with the early bedtime.
With Easter, I’m looking forward to new things. Mostly I’m interested to see what my limits are with a full-time job. Can I continue to keep bees, volunteer, have fulfilling family time, take nature hikes, run a few miles, etc. in a satisfying way with time restrictions? I’ll do a pulse check next Lent.