Feeling tired in a good way after a day of baking, assembling cereal medleys, and collaging with my son, it dawned on me that I have been cyber-sleeping through large portions of my waking hours at home. Photo: Mark Hauser
Two weeks ago today-when I officially gave up Facebook, YouTube and my beloved online news and information outlets for Lent-I knew very well the harmful emotional impact they were having. The realization that I had incrementally surrendered so much peace of mind had come upon me like an epiphany.
However, after two internet-free weekends-which have included a shock-and-awe campaign of epic household productivity-I have been surprised to discover the sheer physical impact of my digital daze. Who knew that fetishistically planning vacations I would never take (hotwire.com), browsing through other people’s stuff I would never buy (kijiji.com) or decorating homes I would never own (mls.ca) could be so physically exhausting.
But for this Lenten discipline I might have continued to wonder about the mysterious source of my almost chronic state of fatigue-one that for three years has not been alleviated by any over-the-counter or prescribed medication.
Last Saturday evening, feeling tired in a good way after a day of cooking, baking, assembling cereal medleys, constructing disco-dino puppets and collaging with my son, it dawned on me that I have indeed been cyber-sleeping through large portions of my waking hours at home with my family.
I never paid any attention to the larger impact of several early morning hours on a Saturday-the worldwide web standing in for my BFF (best friend forever)-as something that might drain valuable energy reserves that would not be there when needed later in the day. With a set of rose-coloured Google goggles firmly affixed, I failed to do the math on how constantly slipping away for “just a minute” here and there would create a baseline disturbance-an infra-thin but impermeable crust of distraction-that might actually prevent me from being fully present with, and experiencing the joy of, my beautiful home and my loving family.
Of course my husband, who has already noticed a major difference in me, wants to know what kind of post-Lenten plan I am formulating to set boundaries and remain unplugged, at least a good bit of the time. I told him we’ll chart the next 40 miles once my 40 days are done.
For the moment I’ll just continue to pray for guidance in my Wi-Fi free zone and live in the wonder and delight of this rediscovered vitality. And here I was supposed to be giving something up?
Michelle Hauser is a parishioner at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Napanee, Ont., and manager of annual giving for the Anglican Church of Canada.