I first participated in Lent in 2014. It is not a tradition I was raised with but I think the exercise can be incredibly beneficial when applied correctly. That first year I gave up cheese. It’s no secret that cheese is hands down my favourite food and I like nothing more than some good quality unique cheeses. I did have a caveat and it was that if I was offered free pizza, then I could consume cheese during the 40 days of Lent. That happened twice. I also accidently had it on some salad and once some friends brought a selection of cheese specifically for me to try and I didn’t feel right refusing. I think it’s telling that three years later I can still detail the few times I made exceptions to my goal in that first year. That summer I was in France, the land of 360 cheeses, and I told my boss about my Lenten observations. His response? “Wow! C’est un vrai puisement!” And then we proceeded to may up for my six weeks of cheese-less-ness with two months of amazing cheese.
In 2015 I swore off candy. This included all wrapped candy and chocolate bars and even more significantly, I stopped playing Candy Crush. I don’t really think of myself as a big candy eater but I was amazed at how prevalent it was. I remember that just after Lent started it was Chinese New Year. I worked in the International office at the time and I couldn’t sample all the interesting Chinese candies because of my pledge.
In 2016 I quietly stopped eating potato chips. I say quietly because I never bothered to blog about it and I really didn’t talk about it. Plus people don’t know just how many chips I eat. They’re my go-to stress food, comfort food, reward food. Really everything. I did get through the six weeks without having any though so that was a pretty big deal.
I’ve debated for awhile about trying to reduce the time I spend online. It’s hard because Facebook and Instagram are the primary way I stay in touch with friends and family all around the world. Still I know I spend way too much time idly scrolling through a feed that I’ve already been through. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or serendipity that I’m moving into a new home the day Lent starts. In any case it’s a time for new beginnings and for building new habit patterns. Having a place of my own means increased expenses as well and I’ve decided that one expense I don’t need is internet. It’s not to say I won’t be online. I still have data on my phone but I have a pretty small package so I won’t be able to idly scroll through my feeds or check for updates every five seconds. It also means that my newly refound candy crush obsession has to go on hold again. I’m hoping all this new found time will result in a new focus and clarity. Instead of reaching for my phone every time I get the urge to go online, I’ll reach for a book, or better yet my bible. Or I’ll go for a walk. Wish me luck! Detox starts tomorrow!