During the Spring Break CSM Urban trip, Mr. Spickard shared what he did for lent while he was still in college.
He and his friends each gave up one thing for each week of the 10 week quarter. For example, they would give up T.V. one week and the week after they would fast something else. Inspired, I look to do the same going into the Spring Quarter, except I wanted to take it to the next level. Some of you may remember, I posted a rather long note about it on Facebook. The thing I did differently was to give things up cumatively, rather than alternating. As in, by the 10th week of the quarter, I would be giving up 10 different things simultaneously. I was also inspired by Jenny, who gave up meat and chocolate for a quarter, because she felt distant from God. That was like one of two short conversations I ever had with her since she was a busy architecture major.
The goal was simple, give up things that would otherwise distract me or make me unproductive. From there it would provoke other activities, like picking up my violin, biking even more and maybe even reading and of course, it’ll lead me to depend most on God. I took this very seriously too; I was pretty hardcore about giving these things up. Here was my 10 week plan (verbatim):
Week 1: TV/Hulu
-this includes console games
I wanted to start it off slow since I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Though I didn’t have a T.V. in my dorm room, I was often on Hulu while I ate lunch to watch the latest Simpsons or Family Guy episode. This worked two-fold, since it meant I wouldn’t just plop in front of the T.V. when I went home on some weekends. Obviously, this pushed for more time surfing YouTube, but there was no joy in watching the latest episode of anything. This is where I fell behind in The Office. I missed a good 11 episodes
Week 2: YouTube/any other video producing website
With YouTube, Hulu and T.V. out of the picture, I would read articles or the Bible while I ate my lunch at my computer. I wasn’t about watching a movie 30 minutes at a time either. I was quite dedicated to this, I would visits friends’ apartments and look away from the TV like it was medusa. I also wouldn’t watch videos my friends would forward to me.
Week 3: movies
-this includes movies in theater and the ones on my external
Every now and then I would have the free time to put on a movie and relax for about 2 hours (when I was still a pirate). Not anymore! I went as far as turning down an invite to watch a movie with friends to keep to this. I spent a lot of time reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan and World War Z by Max Brooks.
Week 4: iPhone games/unproductive apps
-basically, restrict it to phone purposes only, and to things like notepad, email and weather
At the time I was playing a lot of Pocket Frogs and Zombie Farm in between classes. I had to put my achievement hunting on hold, as hard as it was. For the record I ended up getting 99%, I didn’t have enough in me to push for the last achievement.
Week 5: junk food snacks
-no more chips or msg/sodium loaded goodies
When I brought lunch back to my dorm room, I often got a little something extra to snack on later. Those things included chips, cheezits and beef jerky. For this, I switched that to pistachios, almonds and banana chips. To which I ate them in extreme moderation.
Week 6: meat
-always wondered what it’d be like to give up meat…
Many friends and family members warned me of doing this cold turkey. They suggested cutting out red meat only, but I thought I’d try it till I couldn’t. Luckily, I had the commons to get me through this time. There was enough variety in food where I didn’t go crazy. The hard part was family dinners over the weekends. One of those dinners was one of my grandpa’s extravagant Chinese banquet dinners which included lobster, crab claw and shark fin soup (legal then), among other things. I sat there and secretly ate rice and the decorative vegetables. I knew he would be mad if he knew I wasn’t eating the good stuff. From here I learned that the vegetarian option isn’t as bad as people tend to put it out to be. A grilled cheese at inn-n-out is pretty good and I still get the vegetarian burrito at Chipotle.
Week 7: mindless internet browsing/ useless net surfing
-we all do it… you know, like stumbleupon or digg, or just wiki-ing things, stuff like that
This is before I knew about Reddit. This meant no more article reading on my spare time. The internet was now only reserved for helping me with homework and checking emails.
Week 8: .a
-not that I play alot to begin with, but still, a time consumer nonetheless
That’s DotA if you didn’t catch on right away. It’s funny, my roommate thought something was wrong with me because he stopped hearing constant clicking from my direction. With DotA out of the picture, I was playing more Guild Wars.
Week 9: all other pc related games
-so this will include online games you would find in addictinggames or something
At this point, I had almost nothing..
Week 10: Internet Social Networking – Facebook/AIM/Myspace/oovoo/skype/etc…
Imagine having zero distractions. I was only reading books with my spare time, if not walking or biking around campus. I had all the time in the world to prepare for finals.
Take note, it looks pretty simple, but keep in mind that when you don’t have one thing, you tend to look to the next. By week 10, there was nothing else to look towards, which is what I had planned for myself all along. I actually held onto this until finals weeks was over too. I never appreciated meat and spare time more. It really was an experience, not sure if I could do it again though. I would actually go on to do this 2 years later, except all 10 things at once. That was a tough quarter in of itself already.
What are some things you have fasted or given up for lent (or in general)?