There’s this app on the iPhone called 1 Second Everyday that I’m using to commemorate my study abroad trip in Ireland. It’s a really cool concept of making a video of your entire trip by filming one second every day that captures the essence of the day, then mashing all those seconds together to make a two minute video, give or take. You can preview it so you can see what your video looks like so far, and so I did that three days ago on Monday, two days before the start of Lent.
What did I see? Some pretty incredible moments – views, ballets, nights out with friends. But I also saw my off days in which I filmed myself watching Netflix. (Lame I know.) I was so angry at myself for doing this, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how dependent I’d grown on Netflix and how much of my day revolved around it. It was an everyday occurrence and I KNOW it was just killing all my brain cells one by one, with every episode or movie I watched.
So I asked myself, What has happened to me? I used to be eager to get home from school to finish book after book after book, not flip open my computer to watch the latest episode of whatever. Even last semester I discovered that I liked to write poetry and fell into a creative routine of coffee shops, books, and writing every day (not that that was a good thing for my budget, but it worked wonders for the soul). With the shifting seasons, I switched my routine to Netflix and my couch. Every single day this happened, and I felt horrible about myself.
I like to think I live by the quote found in the famous movie Dead Poets Society:
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
It turns out, as I was watching that one second a day video just Monday, I wasn’t living into this quote as I once thought I was. I want to live a life of wondrous faith, applicable education, good literature and meaningful words, not a life dictated for me by a film on a computer screen. And so I knew what I needed to give up for this Lenten season to bring me back to those things: Netflix. And even though it’s only been a day without it, I already feel a change in myself growing. The cobwebs are being dusted off of the bookshelf. My brain cells are being regained with every page I turn of Angela’s Ashes (a perfect book to start off with while I’m in Ireland). My heart is already reaching out to be just a centimeter closer to God – something Netflix has barred me from for a long time.
It’s a beautiful feeling: to feel like I am gleaning the good things that the world has to offer me. This Lenten season will be challenging, but I’m excited for the potential it is handing to me, and for the relationship with God I’m going to have the aspiration to foster.