Two points: media fasting in general, media fasting when I was abroad…and what it all meant to me.

For Lent, I gave up Facebook. That’s 40 days without constant connection to my friends and family. Like all tales you hear of doing some sort of digital fast…I feel like I’ve come out on top. It was super hard to be disconnected from people I only get to interact with on Facebook (like friends from EdgeHill) and I’ll be honest…a time or two I checked FB from the app on my phone just to make sure I hadn’t missed any important “Skype Date Change” messages. But in the end, it was nice to not always be connected to people…people whose lives I compare to my own, usually to disappointment because we all know people only post their accolades on FB.

In my time away from Facebook,, I’ve spent more time {looking for a job (and got one!), looking at cars, apartments }doing important life tasks since I’ve been home from England. I didn’t spend SO much time on FB that even if I hadn’t given it up, I wouldn’t have gotten around to these tasks because I was creeping, but still. (I also deleted Tumblr a bit before Lent started so I’ve been without two of my favourite things!) I dedicated more time to finally editing photos for sale, getting onto Pinterest (but not like the crazy middle-aged lady), and reading more of my favourite feeds on Google Reader.

I’d say that deserves a #winning tag…if this were Twitter (which I think would be 500 times harder to give up…I need my news!)

My second point, media fasting when I was abroad was forced on me. No Droid with twitter, google reader, FB, tumblr, etc. unless I was in a wi-fi area. No TV either. If I wanted to check my email…I actually had to get on a computer. I haven’t done that since I started college…and then soon after I bought a blackberry.

This is the ultimate tale of #winning. Let’s get real…there’s SO much to do in England that you don’t even have time to waste online or your phone. The most I used my Droid was to play Angry Birds on long train rides when I couldn’t look out the windows.Why pick a day in bed with TV (online) and Facebook when you can pick a day exploring a beach town? Shoot, even if you had an hour or so, why pick FB and YouTube over a walk into town? (Sometimes I did pick laying in my bed over walking to town but usually only when I wasn’t feeling well).

Being in England is the ultimate excuse for not being connected, too. “Oh you emailed me? Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I was in Rome for the weekend”. Who can argue with that? It’s also the most guilt-free reason to not be connected. Sometimes we feel pressure to keep up with everything and everyone so we end up living in the digital world and not the one around us. We’re too busy texting or tweeting that we don’t look up to see the double rainbow (remember that Hannah?) or enjoy the sun setting. We just move from place to place, heads down, thumbs moving over a screen.

I’m so glad I had those 3 months away from connected life…and these 40 days away from Facebook. It’s certainly nice to live in a world where such luxuries exist…but the world doesn’t crumble when they’re gone. In fact, the world, the one right around you, becomes more vibrant and alive.

With all of that said, I’m still attached to my phone 24/7. I’m still always tweeting every 5 minutes. I’m still interested in what my friends are doing. So some of this was lost on me…but mostly because of the society we live in. By nature of the work I do, I need to be connected…I would be losing out if I wasn’t…but I no longer get anxious when I’m faced with time away from my phone (like sleeping). I don’t sweat when Twitter is overloaded. And I don’t panic when my internet flakes out. In fact, I look forward to these little blips because it gives me an opportunity and an excuse to just sit back with a book in my favourite chair by the patio in the sun sipping tea.

How is that not winning?

P.S. Hannah and Anna, if you got around to reading this, thanks for helping me though withdrawal by traveling with me 🙂