I’m not Catholic, but I really like the idea of Lent. This is closely related to why the Camino resonates so intensely with me – the idea of sacrifice as meditative practice, a way of becoming more focused on a specific thing, whether it is your faith or your awareness of the world around you. In previous years, I’ve given up shopping for craft supplies, plastic bags, beer, and chocolate. This year, I’ve decided to give up ice cream, something I enjoy immensely and crave basically all the time. On Tuesday, even though it was cold, I grabbed a “plain sundae” on my way home from running errands.

Last Ice Cream for 40 Days

While it certainly was no Jeni’s, it was a delicious treat, and the days will be many and long until I can enjoy it again.

In lieu of giving something up, one year I decided to spend the 40 days of Lent taking better care of myself. I don’t recall that it actually had much measurable effect; however, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to do the same during Lent this year. There are a variety of personal care things that I’ve just, well, never been very good at remembering to do. These include, but are not limited to, washing my face and flossing. I tend to remember to take care of myself only when something goes wrong – I break out, I remember to wash my face for a week, my skin clears up, and I forget about it. In the next few weeks, I’m going to try to do better – in hopes of establishing healthy habits.

When did I get so high maintenance?

It’s been two days, and so far I have flossed every night, washed my face every morning (and after work outs!), used moisturizer, and drank more water than usual. Off to a good start.


0 thoughts on “Lent

  1. I’m picking up litter for Lent. I usually do it anyways (sadly it’s always around in our new neighborhood) but I wanted to be more conscious about doing it all the time, whenever I see something.


  2. Interesting. I’ve never seen the appeal of Lent – probably in part because I was raised Catholic and resented being *told* to give something up as opposed to choosing to give something up, and probably also because I’m fairly hedonistic/kind of constitutionally opposed to imposing rules and restrictions on myself, at least the giving-something-up kind of rules. But what you say here, about “the idea of sacrifice as meditative practice, a way of becoming more focused on a specific thing,” makes it a little more understandable to me. My childhood impression of giving things up for Lent was more that it was sacrifice-as-sacrifice, suffering-as-suffering, punishment-as-punishment.


  3. i gave up Lent when i gave up Catholicism, but i always did really like the practice. i tried to make New Years resolutions fill that void, but it isn’t the same as taking a month long break from something (or addition of something). you’ve inspired me. sign me up as an atheist that does Lent.


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