The start of lent is less than a month away and it’s already on my radar.
I caveat all of my past and future lent related posts. I am not a hugely religious person and hopefully I won’t offend anyone here. I practice lent for my own reasons – a combination of family tradition, and a demonstration to myself that I have willpower and am capable of self-sacrifice. I grew up watching my mom practice lent – giving up some of her favorite things and it kind of stuck. I have been practicing lent for the last 10 or 11 years. I caved once and don’t think I ever forgave myself. Every year it gets easier and easier no matter how hard I make it on myself. The first few days always suck, but for some reason I get a bit zen when it comes to lent. Temptation and cravings don’t have the same effect because “I’m just not allowed”.
I have yet to decide what to give up. It could be one, some of a combination of all of my vices listed below.
1) Smoking. I hide this from a lot of people but I started smoking again last year after a 5 or 6 years. It was a crutch to deal with a really stressful time and then addiction set in. I have been in the process of quitting for the past few months. I’ll go for a week or two without smoking and then cave and smoke for a week and then quit.. over and over and over. I am currently on a not smoking stint. Maybe I need to give it up for lent to really kick the habit.
2) Coffee. I LOVE coffee! I can tell by the 3 cups I’ve already had today and the number of instagram photos I have of lattes.
3) Refined sugar. I am probably more addicted to sugar than I am to smoking. I have been obsessed with sugar and candy since I was little. I probably spent all of my allowance growing up on candy, slurpees, donuts and other sweets. Giving up sugar is a staple during lent. I don’t give up all sweet things – honey is still allowed and I often start eating more dried fruit, but candy, baked goods, pop etc are all off limits. I still eat bread, I know there is sugar in it…. but I’m not crazy enough to take away everything. The crappy thing about giving up sugar for lent this year is that my birthday falls during lent and that means no birthday cake for me.
4) Alcohol. I have never attempted this and not sure it would go over well. Although smoking and drinking go hand in hand so it might be worth trying. It’s only 6 weeks – I could probably handle it.
5) TV. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of TV. It’s been cold and snowy out and Netflix has so many good TV shows on it to help keep me entertained during my hermit winter phase. I have given up TV before (I still allow myself to watch movies…. but no TV shows) and its hard to get used to, but I become so productive. I go out more, the house is cleaner, I spend more time at the gym, I read more… I could go on and on and on. I do make an exception to this rule. If I’m at someone else’s house and the TV is on I will watch it. I can’t force others to abide by my rules during lent.
6) Junk / Fast Food. In the past when I give up sugar, my body starts craving salt, especially chips and fast food isn’t too far off.
7) Eating Out. I have cut back on eating out quite a bit since the New Year, but I still do it more than I should. If I added this to my lent list it would leave more money in my wallet for other fun stuff.
This is starting to become a very long list. I am going to quit now before I give up electricity, my cell phone or something else drastic.