These past forty days without television, and without social media have been some of my toughest, yet most alive, days yet. It was for my Lenten promise that I decided to make the commitment of denying myself the pleasures of social media and television. In doing so I was dedicating myself to making more time for my faith, yes, but also making more time for myself and the desires of my heart in eliminating distractions. In eliminating the toxicity that comes along with overuse of these modern day technologies.

Here are five amazing things I could not have done within these past forty days without taking a step back from the illustrious pressures of todays technology-crazed society:

  • I wasn't distracted, and I was forced to deal with all my to-dos, to-day. My ability to procrastinate was substantially lessened. I was much more productive; left with time for the more important things like my relationships.
  • I was attentive—present. Through these sacrifices, I wasn’t able to look at a screen throughout my day-to-day happenings. I was compelled to notice the small things. I felt the breeze on my walk to class. I admired the old couple holding hands walking ocean-side. I took part in classroom discussion. I was doing more than simply going through the motions, like many of us (including me) are guilty of.
  • I've had more authentic moments with the people I love. By having meaningful hang-out time without the distraction of the television, or the post I've just scrolled past I’ve shared more than fleeting comfort with those in my life. I’ve shared more laughs, cries, debates, and foolishness because we are together in more than just physical togetherness.
  • I've come to love my body more. Due to the absence of the constant social media post, Netflix binge-watch-series, the hottest new movie featuring the hottest new actress, and the model I am not, I have lessened my comparisons to others. I love my body because it is unique, and mine only. Not because it looks similar to what’s trendy at the moment.
  • Lastly but most importantly, I've made time for bettering myself. Right, how ridiculous does that sound? Time in my life to better myself. But the disheartening reality is, this generation is so wrapped up in the whirlwind of fast pace, and the hottest new distraction, that we fail to take time for ourselves. Time to better ourselves. We fail to reflect on our days and think "how can I make tomorrow better?" We push our emotions to the outskirts. These past forty days I couldn't do that. I had to feel, and I had to ponder. In doing so I took the time to do the things I maybe didn't want to, but knew I should. I spent more time on my school work. I studied longer. I volunteered more. I made the effort to be kinder. I read that book I've been wanting to. I took time out for meditative prayer. And I am better for it. Key word better, not perfect. My point in this is not to brag or seem as if I think I have it all figured out. I know I do not have it all figured out. Really, I'm not sure I ever will, or if we ever can. But I do know that I am genuinely trying. Facing the music with a resolute dance. Taking time to better myself, as well as my chances for genuine, utter happiness.