The 2014 lenten season is officially upon us and I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to give a little refresher on how I got started with this project and how “Lent” fits into the equation in the first place. So, for today’s #30daysofwriting challenge, I present to you:
Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”
As the year 2008 was coming to a close, I found myself in a bit of a rut. Nothing catastrophic had happened over the previous year, but I was harboring overwhelming feelings of disappointment and discouragement. As I think a lot of 25 year-olds are, I was bright-eyed and brimming with enthusiasm over newfound dreams and goals, but there were so many to contend with that I felt more intimidated than inspired. Stagnation had taken hold of me and making progress on anything felt impossible. I needed a plan; a way to break things down so I could actually get something done.
Thinking it would help, I started brainstorming New Year’s Resolutions for 2009. When my list become unrealistically long, I remembered that Lent wasn’t too far away, and thought that maybe I could work one of my resolutions into what I was planning on giving up. That’s when the epiphany hit and I decided to combine the concept of Lent (personal sacrifice and dedication for a set period of time) with my New Year’s Resolutions. I’d complete one goal at a time, one month at a time, for an entire year—and I did.
Now, over 5 years later with dozens of monthly “lents” under my belt, I can say with confidence that it’s absolutely been an empowering way to take charge of my life and to help me make progress on the things that matter the most. I’ve learned (among countless other lessons) that you don’t need to wait for the new year or the start of Lent to make a change in your life: “We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens.” -T.K.V. Desikachar
And for those of you who do partake in Lent in the traditional sense, I challenge you to not always focus on “giving something up”, but rather on “taking something on.” Make Lent yours.
For the record (and to prevent a case of Catholic guilt from setting in), I’ve decided to observe “real” Lent this year and forgo drinking (alcohol, that is) on weeknights. On another note, I also decided to observe Fat Tuesday this year and gorged on Pinot Grigio and Paczkis until I felt sufficiently sick enough to stop. Lenten success all around.