As a catholic school girl for one third of my total years of education, and a Catholic for my 26 years here on Earth, today is a big day. Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Catholics (and, I think, many Christians as well) give something up for the 40 days of Lent in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice for us.
I always greet this day with a bit of dread. I never quite know what to give up. I mean, 40 days is a long time. I'm just not good at the self-sacrifice thing. At all. Which, I suppose is the point, if you get down to it. I remember sitting in church during one Sunday of Lent when I was in eighth grade and the priest announced that really, Lent was actually longer than 40 days because the Sundays didn't count. I was overjoyed when I realized this meant I had a cheat day each week on which I could eat sweets. My mom, on the other day, was less than thrilled by the advent of the cheat day.
It has been interesting to read Facebook today. Most of my friends are also some type of Catholic/Christian, and the messages have been interesting. I've seen a lot of people posting about giving up pop/sweets/all carbs/treats/alcohol. Good for them. I, on the other hand, feel that I do not have enough willpower to think in such absolutes after my rounds of Game-On dieting this summer and fall, so I've decided to make other sacrifices.
For Lent this year, I'm going to church once a week. I'm thinking that weekday night masses might be the best for my schedule, but who knows, maybe I'll even pop in of a Sunday. Growing up, my parents made sure we were at mass, well, religiously. Since I've been a grown up, I've slid on this. Considering I'm job hunting, getting into the final stages of a school year, and in the final stages of grad school, I'm thinking some quiet space to listen might be exactly what I need these next forty days.
I'm also giving up unnecessary shopping. You know what I'm talking about. That cute cheap(ish) t-shirt that jumps in the cart when you swear you were only at Target to buy cat litter? Those Goldfish that appear in your hand when you were in the gas station paying for your gas? That shampoo that makes your hair super shiny but you can only buy when you are at the salon so you HAVE to get it every time even though you don't need it? I'm a terrible sucker for those types of things and it has to stop. Lent, here I go.
By no means am I suggesting that you are remiss if you don't observe Lent or give things up. I just know for me, it seems to be helpful to have a regularly scheduled time on the calendar to do so. Wish me luck. Goldfish would be really delicious right now, and its only day one.