Giving Up and Doing Good

Photo on 2-22-12 at 7.55 PMI thought I would try something extra nutty this evening and keep my blog post fairly short and to the point.  I know, I’m sort of doubting that will happen too as I type this, but by God… let’s give this crazy notion a whirl.

Today is Ash Wednesday, hence the snappy picture of our blog hero to the right, looking dapper as ever in pointing out the incredibly obvious ashes mark on my dome.  Because you wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise, right?

I’m a fairly private person when it comes to my own faith, hence I ‘m not going to spend a lot of time going into the details of that… however, I think there is something about Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent generally that is a positive in our hectic modern world.  Basically, it’s meant to be a time to stop, reflect and realize there’s much in life that’s a lot bigger than you and your individual problems.  Separate that from the particular religious aspects of the season and it soon becomes a valuable lesson for anyone, regardless of belief, or lack thereof.  It’s a bit of my mission for the next several weeks to make reflection a better habit than I have.

In addition, I am also looking to do something this year for Lent in addition to the “giving up” piece that so many people tend to associate with the season (although I am doing a bit of that too).  Inspired by a Facebook post I saw from author Robyn O’Brien, I remembered what my Mom always would say about Lent when I tried to think of what to give up.  “Kevin, you don’t have to give something up… you can just do something instead.”  As usual, Mom had the wisdom I am usually only able to feign.

So this year, my goal is to try and make someone’s day, every day by paying a very sincere compliment… and not repeat anyone for the entire period of Lent.  Sounds doable, right?  I think one way I will do this is just to post a Facebook status update each day on one of my friends (especially on days where I cannot think of a specific compliment I gave… like today).

Will this change the world?  No, probably not… but honestly, I think we live in a world of sorely in need of people saying nice things about each other and really meaning them.  It’s simple to do, costs absolutely nothing and you never know who might need that lift, maybe even more than you know.

Off to start my do-gooding… and these 40 days may turn into something a little bit more than just a short window goal.  Wouldn’t that be something?

Forty Facebook-Free Days

Every year when Lent rolls around, I try to figure out what in the world I’m going to do for those 40 days that will be meaningful of the season.  As Mom always says, “You don’t have to give something up.  You can do something instead.”  She makes a good point (as Mom usually does), but it always seems easier to pick something to forgo instead of doing something.  This year, I’m looking to do both.  Why?  Apparently I’ve been bitten by an ambition bug.  Nasty little suckers.

Now, I could look to subtly build the message of this blog post through an increasingly clever and layered set of paragraphs, delving into heretofore never seen nuances… umm… but the title of the post pretty much gives the whole damn thing away anyway, so why bother?  So, yup… I’m giving up Facebook for Lent.  I know, I’m fairly cutting edge in my approach to most things, Lent included.  I’m sure I will be a 2011 Time Magazine Man of the Year candidate on this alone.

I’ve gotten a bit of pushback from a few friends of mine, especially those who no longer live close enough by me to hang out with on a consistent basis.  They make a good point: Facebook is the easiest way for them to know what I’m up to given the busy pace of their lives.  I actually agree with that.  I know it can be supremely easy to bash Facebook for any varied number of reasons, but it’s allowed me to reconnect with old friends, family members and just keep up with what a lot of people I know are doing on a daily basis.  Plus, I’ve seen some interesting articles and pretty amusing pieces of YouTube genius as a result of The Book of Face.

So why give it up?  Two reasons, really.  One: I like it and doing so is a sacrifice for me.  That’s sort of the easy one to explain.  Second: I feel like I can make much better use of my time for Lent than addictively checking Facebook on my laptop and on my phone, or reading the updates that come via e-mail.  They are not inherently bad or anything like that, but I know I’ve become a little too preoccupied with the Facebook life and not enough focused on… well… regular life.  The Facebook time is time I could use reflecting on Lent, doing some reading, writing for this terribly neglected blog, finally getting serious about improving my flexibility (seriously) or even just spending time with people… like face-to-face.  You know, like in ye olden days of yore.  And if you are wondering whether I crafted that sentence strictly for an opportunity to use “yore”… damn straight I did.  That word gets far too little use, my friends!

KMK Facebook

The real hope I have is to unplug for a bit and not withdraw at all, but rather to engage in a more meaningful fashion with the people I care most about it.  Facebook should be a tool for that, not some kind of crutch and while I don’t think I’ve gotten to that crutch-like point, I must confess I’ve come to rely on “The Book” a lot more than I would care to.  Hence, I am pulling away from Facebook for 40 days and seeing what it all brings.  I expect a few withdrawal symptoms over days 1-5, but probably smooth sailing after that.

The only potential bummer is actually using Facebook to announce any new blog posts I do.  I will definitely be using Twitter for that and if there was a way to auto-publish to my “Fierce and Mighty” Facebook page, that would be nice too.  If I can’t, then so be it.

Don’t feel bad, Facebook.  We had a good run and I just need some time apart.  It’s not you… it’s me.  I’ll be back… I think.

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