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  • Amy Michele

Letting go for Lent?



I have to begin this post by stating that in spite of what the title may imply, I am not Catholic or any other religious persuasion that adheres to Lent. I am also not in any way wanting to offend anyone who is. With those disclaimers out of the way, I do like the observance of Lent. Giving up or denying oneself of a "luxury" for 40 days of the year, to give yourself the space and time to dedicate yourself to something deeper is a fabulous idea. Not to say that the "item" being forsaken is inherently bad, or should not come back into your life, but just that it may be distracting you from something better. Who among us cannot afford to eliminate a distraction or two for a mere 40 days?

So in that vein, I chose on February 14, 2018 to give up a meaningless distraction that has not only been a time waster, but has at the same time added unwarranted stress into my life. Time for the big confession: yes, I got hooked on smart phone games! I fell into this problem from a starting point of good intentions. I decided to download the Duolingo app to assist with improving my French skills. I did not realize at the time that while it is a language based program, it is still very much simply a game. While my comprehension of French has improved a little, not to the degree that the games rating of me at 55% fluency would lead you to believe. As free games tend to go, if you want extra "health" or lives you have to watch ads. And what do they usually advertise, OTHER GAMES. So yes I fell prey to the temptation to try out some games. Several were a brief try out and delete, but two stuck and led to, let's face it, addiction. I would find myself wasting way too much time, reaching for the phone anytime there was a spare minute, and worst yet wake up realizing I was dreaming about how I could get past a difficult level. All this happened over the course of just 6 weeks! So I arrived at the first week of February stressed out, sleep deprived and quite frequently unproductive. I tried just deleting the games, but invariably the next time I was bored (sometimes only hours later) I would just reload them. Something had to give. Enter Lent.

When I realized Lent was just around the corner I made the commitment to myself that on the 14th I would once and for all delete the games and make myself do without for 40 days. I waited for this week to pass before writing about my journey to give you an honest assessment of how this experiment is going. I won't say it has not been challenging. I realize now that these games had become a pacifier and the twitch to play is still there. But I am pleased to let you know my phone is still game free! I am trying to fill the moments where I feel that twinge to play with positive behavior instead. I have chosen to complete a simple task or just meditate for a few minutes and so far that is going quite well. It is my plan to keep you updated through the rest of February and March how it is proceeding. (Letting Go - Part 2)

So while we may already be a week in, my challenge to you is to consider denying yourself something for this same period. Whether you are observing a religious practice, or just calling it a personal experiment, the room for growth is limitless. I would love to hear what you think and if you are willing to jump in as well.