Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”

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.  

I ate approximately 2.75 of these

I ate approximately 2.75 of these on Fat Tuesday

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. 

 

Thanks for the Memories: Memory Lane Wrap-Up and July’s Lent

When I started this challenge, I had a grand vision of recording a memory a day for the entire month, ending up with 30 perfectly written little life stories by May 31st. Ha! As with almost everything in life though, things usually take at least twice as long as you think they will—which was certainly true in this case. Recording all these memories took quite a bit of time, and even after extending the challenge into June, it was still tough—or let’s be honest: impossible—to fit them all in.

Alas, I wasn’t able to recall every last beautiful moment of my life thus far, but I’m happy to have at least some of the best and brightest on record. Before I officially sign off with this lent, I’d like to give a sincere thank you to each and every single person in my life—whether I was able to write out a memory about you or not—because without you these memories wouldn’t exist and my life wouldn’t be as blessed and beautiful as it is. So, thanks for the memories guys, I mean it xoxo

And on that note, cue the Bob Hope send off:

 

So, now what? If you like 12MOL of Facebook or Twitter you may have seen my post last Saturday polling which challenge I should take on for July: a 21-Day Sugar Detox, or learning to play the ukulele. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the uke so I’m goin’ for it—for my very first musical challenge, I will teach myself to play the ukulele (and take advantage of my in-house stringed instrument expert, Mr. Dan Kaplan). I don’t have the details entirely worked out, but I’m feeling like this month will involve lots of embarrassing video updates and definitely a pretty serious grand finale performance that’s TBD. Any suggestions?

Next Step: Buy a ukulele and figure out how to play it. Piece o’ cake. Anyone have any resources for me? Books, YouTube videos? Local ukulele experts to hit up? I’ll need all the help I can get…