Today is the first day of Lent. Related: Happy Valentine's Day!
As the first day of Lent, I realize I'm behind, again, with my deciding what to give up for Lent. This is apparently a trend, and unsurprising, as I'm not actively participating in any organized religion. I'm missing the cues, the reminders that tell people that, hey, think about this, pay attention!
Why do this at all? Why give up anything for Lent if I don't have a religious or moral imperative to sacrifice something that brings me joy, that causes happiness, that I find satisfying?
Easiest answer would be because I want to do it.
Of course, the fullest answer is more complicated than that, and involves accepting and accomplishing a challenge. The answer also includes elements of control, even if said control is an illusion. No doubt, some childhood indoctrination into religion has some play in the answer, "because one is supposed to do this." There might be some financial reasoning in the answer, possibly some punishment or self-hatred in the mix, but I'm less sure about those two elements.
So, the easiest answer stays: because I want to do it.
Given that, what to give up? What to let go?
Giving up alcohol is a common item to give up on Lent. While I have been drinking more than I usually do, and had been drinking to relieve the pain and anxiety of the last few months (even though that never works, alcohol doesn't fix the problems, just delays the dealing with them), giving up alcohol isn't really difficult, and definitely isn't a sacrifice. So, that's out.
Tea might be a good one. I drink a LOT of tea. Keeping this one on the list.
Coffee? No brainer, not a sacrifice, hate the stuff.
Meat? Wouldn't be difficult, I prefer a vegetarian diet and have to consciously eat meat for the protein most meals. A vegan diet, however, would be difficult. This is a good one to consider.
Chocolate? Yes, this one I find difficult to give up. Made more so by the 20 bars of Patric Chocolate that Jonathan bought me.
Sugar? Oh my yes. Giving up sugar, deliberately avoiding all sweets and fruit would be hard. And health-wise very, very good for me. It would include chocolate by default.
Speaking of "in general" along those lines, food is an option, too.
** Insert sound of needle dragging across a record here. **
Fasting is a typical Lent thing. From Wikipedia's page on Lent:
For Latin Catholics, by the early 20th century the theoretical obligation of the penitential fast throughout Lent except on Sundays was to take only one full meal a day and that around noon. In addition, a smaller meal, called a collation, was allowed in the evening, and a cup of some beverage, accompanied by a little bread, in the morning. In practice, this obligation, which was a matter of custom rather than of written law, was not observed strictly.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law allowed the full meal on a fasting day to be taken at any hour and to be supplemented by two collations, with the quantity and the quality of the food to be determined by local custom. The Lenten fast ended on Holy Saturday at noon. Only those aged 21 to 59 were obliged to fast. As with all merely ecclesiastical laws, particular difficulties, such as strenuous work or illness, excused one from observance, and a dispensation from the law could be granted by a bishop or parish priest. In addition to fasting, abstinence from meat was to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays and Saturdays in Lent.
A rule of thumb is that the two collations should not add up to the equivalent of another full meal. Rather portions were to be: "sufficient to sustain strength, but not sufficient to satisfy hunger".
Fasting is already part of my life, but not at the level of forty-seven days in a row. Again I shake my fist at the sky over Catholics believing that SUNDAYS DON'T COUNT during the forty days of the fasting in the desert. Consider this, did he think, "Oh, I'm going to eat on Sundays?" No, he didn't. He fasted 40 days straight, not counting Sundays is bullsh-t and another power play by the church over its people. Bull. Sh-t.
And I digress.
Fasting. Part of my life. Not for FORTY-SEVEN days in a row, though. Even at reduced caloric input, being hungry for forty-seven days would be a sacrifice in a way that I haven't experienced yet. Would I be disingenuous to choose this? Does it satisfy my need to give up something for Lent? Or would it be more than that?
Other options? Screw it, other options of things to give up for Lent, this time without explanations:
Spending money, except for necessities.
Checking out books from the library.
Feeling sorry for myself.
The victim role.
The habits and routines that don't help me out of depression.
Listening to television while I work.
10x10 (argh, that game! such a time sink!)
Overplanning my days.
Underplanning my days.
Maybe some "not" options, giving up not doing things by actually doing them? Unsure.
Pick something. Anything. Start there, and adjust as needed. Start today. Start now. Didn't need to eat today anyway.
Chocopocalypse is in 47 days. I look forward to the day. Again. It is the most wonderful holiday on record. Time to bring it back.
Happy Valentine's Day.