I decided in September to do a 40-day fast from all the blogs that I normally read. I left it at that.
September was a long time ago, and it was towards the end of November that I started to write this response to that fast and then left it by the wayside. I was hoping that I had written more back in November, to see what I thought about the outcome of that decision a little bit closer to the time it had actually taken place, but alas, I wrote only a few sentences before I was distracted by something.
The fast itself was a struggle for me. Not because it was hard for me to resist clicking on the blogs I normally read.. I got over that after the first day or two.. but because I just wasn’t sure if it was really worthwhile. What was I accomplishing? Was I learning anything? Was I regaining the focus I had hoped to? I debated a lot after it was all said and done and couldn’t decide if it had been fruitful or not. The longer I thought about it though, the more I realized that it had been fruitful and it had been worthwhile, but not exactly in the ways I had hoped or expected.
One of the things I learned from doing this fast is that laziness seems to be deeply rooted within myself. Even though I wasn’t reading blogs, I was still finding ways to waste time while making a nice butt-print in the sofa. You could argue that I have a young child and so coveted naptime should be ‘my time’ to do with what I please. Maybe so, but I have no doubt that the choices I was making, even during the fast, were not the best choices. They were still the easy, lazy choices.. they just looked a bit different than what I had been doing previously.
Another thing I learned is that at this stage of my life, change comes slowly. For whatever reason, I can see clearly that as I came out of the fog of new-motherhood, any progress I made toward the person I wanted to be was tiny step by tiny step. An often-interrupted path moving in the direction of something better. At first I found this new characteristic really frustrating. Then I realized that it’s just reality. Really young children require a ton of attention, so I don’t have as much attention to give to my own well being. The pace of my own goals is much slower than it once was, but I am finding there is much to learn in this situation. Namely, patience!
I also came away from the fast with a healthy frustration. It made me very thankful that I could look back on the experience and be dissatisfied. The fast itself had not achieved all the things I had hoped that it would, but rather than giving up, I felt prodded to keep working as I learned. Because I had learned new things, I was more ready to combat the temptation of wasting my time in fruitless ways.
It’s a little over five months now since my commitment to that fast concluded. I still read blogs, but I have significantly focused them so that the blogs I indulge in outside of friends and family are useful to me, and not just serving the purpose of entertainment or amusement. I am still daily fighting the urge to just sit and putter the afternoon away (especially as the third-trimester fatigue sets in! :), and that’s ok, because I am aware that it’s a fight. Some days I win and some days I lose, and thankfully the days I lose are concluded with a feeling of discontent.
One practical way that I have always helped myself stay focused is by making lists. Lately I have been making myself a list each week. It helps immensely to keep me focused when I sit down and realize I have a few hours to myself. It is not prioritized (aside from an awareness within my own mind), and that little bit of freedom to choose what I want to do in an afternoon helps a lot. If I don’t feel like working on a project with a deadline a few days away, I can work on a photo album instead. Then, anything not finished on the list is carried over into the next week. And when I finish something, I get the joy of whacking it right of the list! :)
It’s a small thing, but as Tesco says, every little helps!
So I guess that’s what I came away with. Ultimately, a better understanding of my true area of weakness (it wasn’t so much the blogs themselves as it was the laziness), and some realizations to help me combat it. So it was worthwhile. It is something I will probably do again eventually (a 40-day fast, that is, not necessarily from blogs) when I am so moved, because anything you can learn from is worth pursuing!