Friday, February 1, 2013

7 Month 1: Media

A few months ago, I read the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by the lovely Jen Hatmaker, and it pretty much changed my life.  I wrote a little bit about some New Year's goals based on this here, but I knew I wanted to do more.  My amazing friend Leslie discovered this book completely separately, and we were so excited to discover our mutual obsession.  We've been talking about it for a couple of months, and she was finally able to locate the brand new devotional guide to go along with the book, for those who want to try it themselves.  This was the kick-start we needed, and her and her husband JC have been spending January only eating seven foods: chicken, avocado, wheat bread, apples, spinach, eggs, and sweet potatoes (and beer--these people are our kindred spirits).  She sweetly asked me to be on her "council" of accountability, at which point I laughed very hard before I informed her that I will be of no use, as I am a shameless enabler.  As long as you have a mean friend to balance out, we'll be great.  Anyway, they are now coming up on Day 31, and although I'm pretty sure they may not eat chicken again for a year, I'm completely impressed that they survived!

Being almost halfway through my pregnancy and under no illusions that my willpower is going to get any stronger from here out, we decided that food was not necessarily the place to start.  However, from the first day that I picked up 7, I knew that the area of media was screaming to be addressed.  It had actually been on my heart even before I knew this whole crazy experiment existed, but this was a solid confirmation that something has to change.  Between winter and the West Wing, I am turning into such a couch zombie, and I know Tommy feels the same way.  Add to that the growing body of research that smart phones are killing our ability to focus coherently (and, being pregnant, I need all of the help I can get.  This baby is making me dumber already, and I hear it gets worse once the arrive), and I'm a bit concerned.  I see the effects of media multitasking on my students and their ability to concentrate, and I'm scared to death of producing that kind of child.  So, we're getting this under control now in hopes that our child might not learn how to work our iPad until it's at least 3.  Plus, we spend a RIDICULOUS amount of money on media every month.  I won't tell you what our cable bill is from Comcast, but it's gross.  I am thinking of writing to Congress about the whole cable company monopoly thing, because it's really a problem.

Here are our parameters for the month of February:
  • TV: Tommy and I will each get to choose one episode of one show to watch per week.  We are going to allow ourselves one movie each weekend night, and 2 episodes of West Wing can count for one of those movies.  We will allow sporting events on a case-by-case basis (ie, the Super Bowl, since it would be really awkward to host a Super Bowl party and not turn on the TV, and important Michigan State/KU/Pacific basketball games).  Our biggest focus is on intentionality--not watching TV for TV's sake, but only if it is a meaningful activity.  Down the road, we are hoping to cancel cable when our contract expires this summer and stick to Netflix and Amazon Prime.  The only glitch we still have is how to get live sports, but we are working on the ESPN and March Madness iPad apps and connecting to our TV.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • Internet: We obviously both need to use the computer for work, but we are limiting computer access at home to the desktop only.  No laptops, no iPhones, and no iPad.  If we want to do something that requires a computer badly enough, we can get off of our butts and sit down at the computer.  That chair is way less comfortable than the couch, so it is a natural limiter.  In terms of social media, it's off for the month.  No Facebook, Instagram, reading other blogs, or Pinterest (HOW AM I GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS?! Sidebar--I may still pin things from time to time from websites through the bookmarklet thingy because I use it is my primary tool for keeping track of inspiration and potential purchases, but I'm not going to get on the actual website, so if you see something I pinned, I swear I'm not cheating!!!).  I am definitely going to continue writing on this blog, because I love doing the weekly maternity updates, and I feel like it is a communication tool that I actually use productively, even if I only have 2 readers (hi Dad and Lindy)!
  • Phone: We decided phone calls (obviously) and texting are ok, because those are our primary forms of communication with our friends, and part of the point of this month is to engage in more meaningful communication with less distracting crap.  However, we are going to limit when we can text--not when we're engaged in other activities or spending time together, etc.  Beyond that, our smart phones are getting dumb for the month, and we are limiting non-phone phone use to things like weather or the maps, but again, not checking those things in the middle of a conversation.
  • Radio:  I pretty much only listen to NPR or KLOVE anyway, but we are going to try to stick to just Christian and classical music or news/sports radio.  Our local radio stations are full of junk anyway, so this isn't a huge sacrifice.  I had to give myself something easy after Pinterest.
To be honest, I'm actually looking forward to most of this.  We went to the library last weekend, and I'm excited to read more without buying a new book on my Kindle every time, which really only leads to reading crap because it's cheap instead of quality books.  I'm a little bit stressed to disconnect from my fake friends in blogland, but I'm hoping it will be less painful than when Friends ended since I know I can come back to their lives in a month! Beyond that, I have no idea what I'm going to do with all of this extra time on my hands...


  1. 3 readers! I always read your Blog Mrs. G! Anyhow, I haven't heard of this book but I am super interested. I've been trying to live simply for a while. I only have basic cable (to watch the biggest loser, no joke the only TV show I watch) and I am a huge library go-er. I could spare to kick the internet some, I just returned to a smart phone after having a flip phone for a year in a half and have considered canceling my internet as a result. Best of luck with your month, I'll have to see if my library has the book!

  2. I forgot to add - Most libraries also have a digital rental system. So if you love your e-reader you don't have to give it up!


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