40 Days, 40 Nights.

I definitely did not mean to neglect this for almost a whole month! But life got weirdly busy in random little ways. That and I took a much needed trip away from town to spend time with a couple of my best friends. And since I’ve had time, and then some, to recover and get back into the swing of things let’s start the greatest month known to us off with a new blog. :)

40 days, 40 nights. Or as it is better known; Lent. The religious event the six weeks leading up to Easter. As I was raised Catholic we always gave something up for Lent to show penitence. Now I’ve long ago stopped with about 95% of all religious practices just because as I’ve grown up I have realized I am not a very religious person. Not to mention I have issues with many things the Catholic church does, but that is a diatribe for another time. However, Lent was always something I kept up with, the one tradition I allowed myself to latch on to and participate in. It has more to do with the goal setting and seeing what you’re capable of more than anything, I call it the “more realistic new years resolutions”.

Growing up it was always more about seeing if we could make it the full six weeks without candy or pop or a certain type of fast food, it was more about the competition than it was anything remotely religious. And so as I grew up I kept seeing it more like that and found it a useful test of my own will power. New Year’s Resolutions are daunting and drag out over the whole year, leaving a large majority of us to fail only a month or two in. Lent gives you 40 days and 40 nights to test your dedication, and even allows you built in cheat days! 

The year I gave up Mountain Dew was the biggest test of not only will power but sanity (for both me and those that had to deal with me) and then the year I gave up McDonalds proved to be tricky when eating with others, but I remember always feeling really proud of myself for making it the full time without things I often never second guess the regular consumption. One year I was a smartass and gave up all fruits because I thought it was funny and got odd looks from everyone, but I still did it and was kinda impressed with myself. Then there was last year where I was stressed and busy with my last semester of college and the looming “future” that Lent just kinda sneaked up on me and I had no plan or idea what to give up…so I gave up Lent. I felt bad for a moment and then I had another paper or another assignment or another four a.m. shift and then I was relieved I had one less thing to be constantly aware of. Plus I proved to myself that if allowed I can give up being strict about (mostly) anything, which probably wont but maybe could come in handy some day. 

So this year when all of a sudden it was the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and I had not set up a plan I started to quickly put something together. An original New Years Resolution had been to eat better/be more conscious of what I am consuming and it fell pretty quickly to the back burner (but it’s the only one of my NYR that did, I swear!) and so I thought maybe it was too broad for me, a person who has lived her life giving pretty much zero fucks about watching her figure or what was good and bad & just how much was okay. Which lead me to create a Lent goal that was more specific and easier to manage; I would give up pop with caffeine. I choose to make it “caffeine pop” because that didn’t limit me to juice or water and because on days like today when I have to be at work by eight a.m. I can have a coffee or something for a wake up jolt. The first week flew by & I had zero, ZERO, caffeine at all and I was pretty impressed, then week two hit and I was starting to feel how exhausted I was constantly & was just cranky about that. But then I was told it takes two weeks for the stuff to leave you body fully and I decided if I could make it through two weeks I could likely make it the whole six weeks! So here we are 17 days into Lent and I have yet to cave, which is a thought I never entertained going into this. 

I also gave up chips, but that wasn’t devastatingly hard since I don’t eat them too frequently. Still I have not cheated there either so yay for that! The last thing I put down (yeah I admit I went a little crazy here…) was to “stop snacking at work” because I am horrible at that. Which it isn’t really fair because they put all the candy and deviously delicious junk food RIGHT in front of us. And that is where I’ve kinda, maybe, sorta not done as good. Granted some days I go in having not yet and then by the time I get off I am starving so that balance needs to be worked out better. And my selection of “snacking” has been better, I pick things that are somewhat better for me than I was before (less chips for one). So it’s not totally failing I figure…say for the day they put a whole new bag of Reeses peanut butter cups in our candy dish cause a girl can only be so strong. 

We still have over half way to go, and I could easily fall off somewhat off the wagon, but I am feeling pretty decent about my stamina and dedication. It’s a nice feeling to have when you see that you can go without something you thought was vital to your life source. I highly doubt I will go to a caffeine free lifestyle once this is all over but I do think I could learn to regulate my consumption of it more and that will be a nice thing to take from all of this. Plus who wants to wait 12 whole months to feel good about yourself when you can accomplish it in a measly six weeks?

No matter if you participate in Lent for religious reasons or for purposes more like my own, I hope you reach your goals. And with any luck this won’t be my only post during this wonderful month. Which what better month than the one that has not only St. Patrick’s and Pi Day but also my Ma’s, one of my best friends, and MY birthday in it to be on the receiving end of luck?! Gonna be a good one, I can feel it! 


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