Yeah, so Ash Wednesday is today, which means Lent also starts today. I was talking to B yesterday about things to give up for Lent, and jokingly said, yeah, I'd give up alcohol for Lent, ha ha ha. Since I don't like the taste of alcohol, and, really, giving it up would be about as hard as giving up running Sprint 8s at four in the morning during a week-long blizzard, it wasn't really much of a sacrifice. Ha ha ha, I thought about Lent, though, throughout the day, and wondered what I could give up that actually would take effort.
Hard ideas included twitter, tea, chocolate, or the internet. That last one would be no work for 40 days, so I threw that one out immediately.
Of the options, chocolate seemed the most reasonable: its loss wouldn't injure my health, sanity or career. Though, thinking about it now, maybe giving up sloth (of some level) would be the best for my health.
Chocolate it is. I'm currently 1/2 a day into a 40 day chocolate drought. Hot chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream and chocolate frosting are all out, along with the plain or fancy chocolate bars. Part of me thinks it'll be hard, but the thing about it is, though, that like fasting, if something is completely off the table, then the thinking about it, the obsession about it, the need for it, all of it rather disappears. During my fasting days, I don't really think about food during the day, and it frees me up to do other things. Now that chocolate is off the list, I don't have to think about, "well, am I eating too much? should I resist having more? should I have dark chocolate or milk? is this too much sugar?" It's just not there.
At least, at this point it's not there.
Ask me again in a week.
And no, I'm not giving up chocolate for Lent because I'm suddenly a devout, practicing Catholic. I find the various religious self-denial rituals fascinating and good excuses to practice self-control and will-power. It's a time to show myself that I can make these small changes that can lead to bigger changes in becoming a person I want to be. That other people in the world happen to be doing it at the same time makes it somewhat amusing, like making resolutions at the beginning of the year. The time doesn't really matter, it's more that the topic is part of the current collective consciousness.
That all said, next week's book is about Buddhism. I'm hoping that triggers more conversations with Paul. He and I haven't been having any good philosophical discussions as of late.