When I was growing up, my dad would always tell me to “make it a great day” before sending me off to school. I’d usually shoot back some smart, teenage retort about how I couldn’t possibly control what kind of day I was going to have. It wasn’t up to me dad, how could I know what the day had in store for me? It’s only in the last few years that I’ve come to realize what a valuable lesson he was trying to teach me. That our own fate and destiny aren’t in the hands of an unknown force, but that we are the ones who choose the path our lives will follow. It was this philosophy that pushed me to take the fate of 2009 into my own hands and make it the year that I wanted it to be, one month at a time.
The 12 Months of Lent was designed as a series of month-long personal challenges that were outlined to push me towards living a richer and more fulfilling life. I sat down a year ago with my friends Amanda and Jenny and together, we came up with an idea for each month, ranging from eating more mindfully, to being more conscious consumers, to just doing things that we’d been putting off for no good reason. The ultimate goal was to adopt the habit that each month was trying to form into our daily lives. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit, so hopefully it would also take 30 days to make one.
Looking back on the year, it’s definitely had a lasting impact on my life. Whether I really wanted them to or not, a lot of the months did form habits that have stuck with me: I write in my journal more than I ever have in my life, I think twice before using disposable anything, I check the label to see where my produce was grown, and I try to support local food sources whenever possible. I have a hard time not picking up trash when I see it, and I make an effort to purchase things with the least amount of packaging possible to reduce my consumption in the first place. I recycle absolutely everything, and even though I failed at it, I gave composting a try, and I’ll give it another try come Spring. I more readily offer compliments to friends and strangers, I don’t hesitate to get in contact with someone that I haven’t spoken to in a while, and I generally just try to do things instead of putting them off. Overall, the 12 Month of Lent was a very positive experience and I look forward to continuing it through 2010, repeating months I enjoyed, and coming up with new challenges as I go along.
So, many thanks to Rick for the encouragement to blog in the first place, to Amanda, Jenny, and Tim for your participation, and to all of you for your support and thoughtful, insightful comments over the year. Keep them coming and happy 2010 everyone!