I've never participated in lent before, but that is about to change.
I've been thinking about stepping away from the internet for a while. I was thinking maybe just a week. I've done it before, for a week at a time, or even a month once. It wasn't too bad. It's always nice to get my head out of the computer and back into real life. Emilie mentioned on her blog that she is giving up the internet for lent, and it hit me, THAT is what I need to do too. It will be my longest internet-fast ever. I'm not saying that I won't become an internet-addict again after lent, but I think having this super-extended time away will be good for me and my family.
As sad as it sounds, this is going to be so incredibly hard! I spend several hours a day online, Usually in small increments; while I'm nursing Ruthie, while I'm having lunch, if I notice I have a new email (I just leave my email up all day, so even though I'm not physically on the computer all day, I'm logged in, and get anything new right away), after I put the kids to bed, etc. But it's literally on my mind ALL DAY.
I feel like I have too many "commitments" online. It seems silly, but when I'm online, it isn't really the "down time" I need anymore. I am forever trying to keep up with facebook and all the blogs I read. I'm only part of one forum these days, but even that is a lot. Then there's all the great articles I come across via facebook, blogs, and the forum that take a while to read. I do love and cherish all of the friends I have online, and everything I am constantly learning, but it's getting overwhelming. I'm actually getting stressed because I keep "falling behind" on everything. But does it really matter? Am I really at a loss if I don't know EVERYTHING everyone I know posts, all the time? I don't even know how I accumulated so many friends online. It's flattering, but can I really have a meaningful relationship with that many people? In the last year I've finally developed a few good relationships with friends in real life, so maybe it would be better to focus my energy there for now. It's just hard when all of my "best" friends and family live so far away.
So anyway, I'm not going to give up the internet forever. I do need the connections, the access to information, and the outlet for myself. Blogging has been such a wonderful thing for me. I express myself the best in writing, when I get a chance to actually think about what I'm saying. But I think this long break WILL be good for me. It's going to be HARD. I will probably have to start keeping a paper journal. I just have to write to get my thoughts straightened out so I can deal with life. But it will be weird knowing that no one will be reading it. I wonder if that will be good or bad? Maybe I will be able to go much deeper than I'm used to without fear of any judgment and it will be enlightening. It will also be difficult to keep all of the awesome and funny things that happen, or that the kids do, to myself. I think I also turn to facebook for validation. I love to post the fabulous things the kids say, and my pictures, so I can share my life with the world and get positive feedback and encouragement. I don't think it's totally a bad thing, and I love to keep up with others and encourage them, but I need to learn to validate myself first. Then let everyone else just be gravy. Or icing. Gravy is so gross, blah. Mmmm... icing. As bad as it is, I am so in love with the Betty Crocker rainbow chip icing in the tub. I could seriously polish off a whole tub by myself in one sitting. Or at least I could in college. Now I have to share with the kids... But yeah, the internet is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a wonderful and essential part of my life right now. So it will be a true fast. I am expecting a lot from this fast too.
I have a list of things I want to accomplish in my time away:
~Listen to the entire audio Bible.
~Read all of my required books for the DONA doula certification (I'm taking the birth doula course April 30 - May 2).
~Organize all of the clothing in our house and do a big purge.
~Go through all of the overwhelming amount of toys and books and purge those as well.
~Go through the 75 000 or so photos on our computer, organize them and delete the duplicates.
~Try the massive list of recipes I have, that are collecting dust since I never "have time" to try them.
~Start watching my Pilates videos and exercising regularly again (my gym membership resumes March 9).
~Plan my garden for the summer.
~Sew more cloth baby wipes since I am always running out before laundry day.
~Perhaps try sewing something else, take up knitting again, make some jewelry, play the guitar, write a book or just do SOMETHING creative that's higher than a 4 year-old level.
~Work on potty-training Gideon.
I've been pretty good at keeping up with my house chores lately, and I want to keep at that as well. Dave was injured at work last week (the Dr thinks it's a hernia) and has been home ever since, throwing off our routine a bit. I want to focus on what I've established, and make these routines habits.
Gideon is going for surgery Feb. 24. Please keep him, and us, in your thoughts and prayers that day. It's just a day surgery for a hernia (yeah, we are the hernia family, I still have 2 myself from this past pregnancy, but the Dr said we might as well wait until I'm done having babies before we do surgery), but I'm still very nervous, I hope it goes well.
My mom is coming for a week-long visit March 2! So that will keep us busy too. Judith has a dentist appointment that week, and then we will find out what all needs to be done. She has some extensive cavities, and no matter what happens it won't be fun for her.
I also really want to take some time for myself. I know even without the internet I'm going to be SO busy, but I have to try. I just really need to think about so many things and examine my life and my goals right now. With Dave being off work, maybe indefinitely, some changes might be coming and I will need to have my head on straight to help make decisions.
Most of all, however, I want to be more present at home with Dave and the kids. I want to be happy just where I am. I want to take delight in the little things, and not just so I can go post about them online. Hopefully the weather will get nicer, so we can go out and have some fun, and I can enjoy the moment rather than trying to capture it and document it in my head to share with the world later. It may sound silly, but that is going to be HARD for me!
I will be back to the land of the interwebs April 4 (Gideon's birthday!). I do kind of hope everyone misses me, haha, but I'm also learning to accept that it's not the end of the world if you don't. My life exists here, with my family and friends, in my home and the world around me, not in this machine in front of me. I will probably still check my email occasionally, in case I get something about the doula course or from my homeschool group about some of the upcoming outings, and because I get grocery fliers that way. But 90% of my emails these days are from facebook anyway, so once that stops I won't be getting much. I definitely won't check it more than once a day, or even two days. I'll still go on Skype too, because it is more like a "real" interaction (call or text me if you want to Skype). But definitely no facebook or blogs, surfing or even looking things up. If I need some info I will get Dave to do it, and he can pay the bills online too.
If you are a local friend of mine, please feel free to call me, and we can hang out!
So, here I am starting out on this journey. I actually wrote this earlier and post-dated it, today is my first net-free day. I also post-dated one post a week for while I'm gone, just so this blog isn't completely dead. See you on the flip side!