Media consumes my day, scribbling in the margins of my life.
I know I’m not alone.
An October study found Americans swallow up a whole 11 hours per day of various forms of media ranging from texting to radio. This same study predicts American’s appetite will average 15 hours a day by next year.
I feel the effects on my attention span. My young children tax my brain enough already, so I decided to take a drastic step to reclaim my mind. I set aside the remote and started a one month media fast.
Could you do it? I struggled through, and I already feel myself thinking clearer and praying more.
I feel a little like Cinderella once her fairy godmother poofed onto the scene, but instead of a gown and carriage, I’ve been given the gift of time. Three hours more per day descends on me like a package out of the sky in the form of no television, movies, Facebook or fiction.
So with this newfound gift of time, I accomplish more. I have even started this blog I’ve been meaning to get to for years. Without the distraction of TV, I brainstormed a book I want to write.
As a reward in itself, I study the Bible and exercise once the kids visit lullaby land. Quitting my media routine redeems 8:30-11:30 p.m. Every. Single. Day.
Replacing a bad habit with a good one is the only way to avoid returning to the foul habit, so I read every day, juggling between two or three different books.
Reading sharpens my thinking and speech. Conversations come easier, and I pause less often to think. My language and vocabulary have improved, and all the reading sharpens my writing.
I don’t check my Facebook feed five times a day anymore. This hones my focus to accomplish the tasks before me. You might still find me wondering around my kitchen trying to remember what I was doing, but my memory improves daily.
As far as TV goes, I don’t miss it at all. Most of the time I only sit in front of the tube to spend time with the Kenyan. He winds down. We hold hands and laugh with each other at the jokes. Sitting with the Kenyan I miss, but the mindless TV I will skip in the future.
Movies I definitely miss. A good movie is art. I will add movies back into my schedule once I make more progress on the blog and book.
Fiction I will add back into my media diet but avoid the meaningless novels cluttering my library. Instead I’ll focus on classics, bestsellers and historical fiction.
I pick up fiction second only after my head goes numb to nonfiction. This is when AMC’s Walking Dead would tempt me, but I will turn to fiction much more after seeing the benefits I’ve reaped so far.
Have you ever gone to sleep Sunday night and wondered, what happened to the weekend?
Before quitting my media habit, I often asked myself this. So the next weekend I would set out to rest more intentionally spending more time on the couch with my remote, but rest never comes.
Instead, TV arrests me and I end up serving it. True rest comes from erasing the extra media scrawled into the margin of my life.
No longer a slave to media, my mind can rest, explore and think freely. I bless the day I found the freedom to turn it off. Now I can rest.