Giving it up (for a while)

It’s Mardi Gras as I write this.  Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday.  It’s the day on which, historically, you wanted to use up the things in your pantry and larder that you were not going to be able to eat during the 40 days of Lent, which, historically, most people observed. According  to Wikipedia, this idea of fasting for 40 days got its start around 331 CE. The idea, originally, was to have only one meal a day, and to avoid meat, dairy, oil and wine (doesn’t that sound fun?). Gradually, that expanded to a small “collation” or snack in the morning and evening, and the main (meatless, oilless, dairy-less) meal at lunch.  In many places, fish and seafood were allowed, and in Canada, historically, you could also eat beaver. So, eating pancakes and sausages on this day kind of makes sense, to mark a stretch when, historically, you couldn’t eat those things.


This could have been your way around a meatless meal in early French-Canadian culture. photo credit: flickr user Space Age Sage via cc


Over time, the idea of “fasting” or “abstinence” during Lent has evolved into giving other things up – maybe chocolate, or beer, or coffee. Followers of this practice are often asked to think about something that draws them away from God that might be given up, or to think about whether they could add prayer or devotional time to their day, rather than giving something up.

This year,  I’ve decided that I need to try a self-imposed social media fast. Particularly during this self-funded leave year, I find that I can happily spend a lot of time down the rabbit hole of my Twitter and Instagram feeds. Without my daily face to face connections with colleagues, I find myself craving connection through my digital networks, and seeking that next hit of dopamine from a like or reply. I need to wean myself away from that, and hopefully find some more time for writing, knitting, spinning, working out, and yes, prayer and meditative time.

I’m also interested in seeing whether stepping away from social media helps with my expectations (my OneWordOnt). I was intrigued during Tina Zita’s OTF workshop on wellness in a digital world to hear one of the participants admit that being on social media actually raises her stress level as a teacher. She feels like she sees all these great ideas, and creates some unreasonable expectations for herself in terms of using them all. I have had other friends share this thought as well. Perhaps taking some time away from the #edtech social media world will help me focus in on the things I already know I want to do with my class next year, rather than worrying about what the hot new activity might be. We’ll see.

One thing I’m pretty certain I’ll accomplish is lowering my yarn budget. I had no idea that Instagram was the true home of yarn porn. So much hand-dyed loveliness, so many women of Star Wars colourways, so much money…..


So, this is a farewell for the next 40 days or so. If you need to reach me, e-mail will probably be easiest, although I will also check Messenger, and Twitter DM. I will still be blogging, and will share those posts via social media. I hope to be “talking” to some of you via your blogs. I hope you’ll let me know if there’s something big happening with you that I might miss if I’m not on Facebook. Maybe we can get together over a cup of tea…..


Let the sparks fly