Saturday, February 13, 2016

Goodbye Netflix - Why Lent is a Great Time for Lifestyle Changes

I have never owned a recliner until this year, when I was replacing furniture after Floodmageddon and someone offered me a free, funky vintage recliner. Blue pleather, wooden could I resist?

So. Much. Love. for this chair!

 So it became part of our 'new' den and it only took a couple of weeks for me to realize it was the yin to the yang of a potentially deadly combination...

A recliner...and Netflix.


Oh, yes, though I'm ashamed to admit it, this I-rarely-ever-watch-television person quickly became a watch-Netflix-on-a-daily-basis person. I think it had something to do with relieving stress and just being mentally transported to another place for a bit.

That's when I suddenly got it, how the power of television can be so addictive, whether it's sports or dramas or just vegging out. For months, I found my way into the recliner and vegged out to Netflix, justifying it by working on knitting projects at the same time. Here's the issue I finally took with that - I wasn't watching Netflix while I knit, I was knitting to justify watching 3 hours of Frasier or The Office. And staying up really late to do it.

Then I noticed my son, the-rarely-ever-watches-television child, was becoming prone to Netflix binges himself on weekends, snow days (yes, ugh, we've had some real winter this year!) and other times when he could and should have been doing something more meaningful with his time.  Throw in those sinfully delicious Thai Chili Doritos that always seem to be finding their way into our home, and suddenly there was a recipe for complete and total lifestyle disaster.

Here's the no-brainer...Netflix is still television, it's just television at your fingertips. That's why it's so seductive. I'm not sure we would have so easily fallen under the spell were it not for the stress we were going through in those months, but here we were, 3 months later, still captivated. So when it came time to decide what we would give up for Lent, what would be the most meaningful thing to sacrifice so that our lives could was crystal clear.

Goodbye, Netflix.

Wednesday morning I did the deed, and it's already made a huge difference in our lives. By Friday I was on board with a local cafe as art show coordinator and planning an awesome exhibit for May (more to come on that!) My son is working diligently on weavings that he hopes to sell to raise money for our upcoming trip to Legoland and building new and cool things with Legos. This Lego Little Free Library has all of my heart!

We just love Little Free Libraries!
And while I could have turned off Netflix at any time, there is something about making lifestyle changes at Lent that I find very empowering. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, it is a great time of collective energies swirling all over the globe, all committed to giving up something for the 40 day Lenten 'fast', all supporting and encouraging one another. I even know non-Christians who make Lenten sacrifices during this time, and I think it's wonderful. A big, current movement is giving up 'stuff'', i.e. 40 bags of stuff in 40 days, but that wasn't an area where we needed a push. This was. And though I love the shows on Netflix (obviously!) I won't be renewing my subscription after Lent. There is simply too much life out there to be lived, and I will survive without having finished the last 2 seasons of Frasier, the next season of House of Cards, or ever watching The Making of a Murderer. (Shows I truly value, I can always purchase on DVD at a later date. It's the binge-watching that was affecting our lifestyle, not television/cinema in general. I do respect quality programming and film as an art form!)

How about you, what are you giving up during this special time? Have you already noticed life changes?

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