Step 2: Fast – Results

For my 72 hours of fasting, I decided to go home and spend the time with my family. I tend to spend an equal amount of time using media when home, maybe even more because we have a SmartTV, so I felt this would definitely prove challenging but I mainly did this so my mother would know that I’m alive and wouldn’t freak out about not being able to get in contact with me.

Beginning the day without media was quite challenging. My phone is my alarm so I woke up completely unaware of what time it was and actually slept in 2 hours past the time I normally wake up. Once I was up, I immediately went to make myself breakfast and felt weird sitting at the dinner table to eat it because I always sit in front of the TV when I eat breakfast. While I was eating at the dinner table, my mom kept commenting on what she was watching and even told me to look at certain things and then say, “oh, sorry!” once she remembered I was fasting from media.

After breakfast and a shower, I felt as though there wasn’t much for me to do so I read a couple of chapters in my book and then quickly decided to clean my room. While taking a break from cleaning for lunch, I sat at the dinner table to eat and noticed my sister using media in the three forms I tend to as well; she was watching TV, while texting, while on her laptop. Seeing her take advantage of media made me crave it. At one point I thought, “maybe I’ll just do this diet thing next week…” and had to re-convince myself to stick with the process then.

After cleaning my room, I still felt that there wasn’t much for me to do so I cleaned the basement. All the while I was cleaning, I would go upstairs to check my phone every couple of minutes to see the time and check if I had any messages, and immediately felt stupid once I realized that it was off. I easily realized that cleaning was my way of being productive and that media has such a control over me that I had to find things to do with my time away from the media and if I hadn’t been fasting, I most likely would have been spending most of my day just like my sister (watching TV, while texting, while on the laptop).

After 24 hours with no media I felt as though I had ripped a band-aid off of a fresh cut – I knew it would be okay after a while but the annoying feeling that lingers with it was in the back of my mind and would come out full force each time I thought about it.

Reading helped distract me from my inability to engage in media and cleaning me something to do to pass the time.

The lack of media also made me realize how much media my sister consumes and I found it quite annoying. Every time I saw her on her phone, I wanted to look at my phone and would get annoyed that I couldn’t. At one point, I wanted to find out the exact lyrics of a song I had stuck in my head and went to grab my laptop but was really upset when I realized I would have to wait two more days to figure out the lyric and then became really annoyed when I went to go back downstairs to clean and saw my sister in the TV room on her laptop. It was eye opening to see that she spent most of her day consuming media and it was even more sad to realize that I tend to do the same.

On day two of no media I went to get a pedicure with my mother and I was placed right in front of a TV. I immediately felt uncomfortable and tempted to watch the entire time. I wanted it to be the quickest pedicure ever, and most girls never want that. I buried my head in my book the entire time, trying so hard to not watch.

Later in the day I went to my sisters softball game and had no sense of time. I kept on having to ask my parents what time it was and made the decision that it would be good for me to invest in a watch.

Towards the end of day two of no media I went to a show at the bottom lounge where a couple of bands were performing. I liked having less weight to carry (my phone tends to get heavy after a while of carrying it) but I felt completely ill-equipped. I kept wanting to use my phone to take pictures of the band, like their pages on Facebook, type their set list into the notepad on my phone, find out the names of certain band members through Google, and take pictures with the band members. It was my normal routine and not being able to do any of it put me in a weird funk. I felt as though I wasn’t 100% there without my phone yet the reality of the situation was that for the first time ever I was 100% there; all of my attention was able to be completely invested in my surroundings but I was too busy feeling unprepared. I easily noticed when my friends, sister, and audience members were on their phones and I was jealous I couldn’t do the same, especially in between stage set-up. I felt as though I needed a form of media, specifically my phone, to completely enjoy my time there.

Once home, I finished reading my first book and started my second book to keep myself distracted from the media I was fasting from.

On day three of no media I woke up just in time for family brunch and spent most of my time in my room reading. Sunday is family day in my household so we tend to spend a lot of time relaxing in front of the TV.

During brunch I easily noticed how connected my sister and father were to their phones, it kind of made me glad I was disconnected so nothing could interrupt my time with them. I also noticed that I didn’t feel a crave to check my phone.

Once home, my parents and sister spent their time watching movies while I finished reading my second book. As much as I wanted to spend time watching TV with them, I was happy to be able to relax in my room while reading my book and not having any outside distractions.

By about 3:00 pm, it sunk in that I would be turning all my media back on and I was sort of sad. I kind of preferred my time without incoming messages from different outlets. It was like I was on a vacation and I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

I admit, at some points within my 72 hours, I felt stupid not having my phone with me while I was out and about, but overall I felt a great sense of ease. Specifically, I felt as if I was controlling the media for a change, rather than letting it control me like it usually does.

72 hours of no media allowed me to see the beauty and reality of life outside of my TV, laptop, and cell phone screen. It allowed me to dive into a non-digital world through the reading of my book. It gave me the ability to spend my weekend devoting my time to something useful instead of wasteful.

Honestly, after 72 hours, I hesitated turning on my media. I didn’t want to see all the emails, texts, and messages I missed while I was away from it all.

Overall I would say fasting proved to be a worthwhile experience and helped me realize that I want to control media from now on, rather than let it control me. I have set an hour limit on email checking and replying. I leave my phone on silent and check it every couple of hours, I check my social media sites three times a day: morning, noon, and night, and I have limited my TV use to two hours an evening. I see a major correlation between knowingly having media available and using it just to use it and then feeling as though I wasted too much time, so I’m trying to take better advantage of figuring out other things to do that don’t involve the three forms of media I use the most.

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