Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Season of Lent Begins

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my personal religious views. I have yet to come to any conclusions (so for now I just consider myself agnostic), but regardless, I can appreciate the values and lessons of Catholicism, Christianity ... pretty much any organized religion. Treat others how you want to be treated. Focus on what's really important - people, relationships, love, gratitude, service.

I've always been keenly aware of Lent, and I've always liked something about it. The sacrifice. The opportunity for self-reflection. I think New Years resolutions get so hyped up; but really I think Lent is so much .... better. It's a chance to start over, to try again, to focus on what really matters, to make changes, usually changes that help you to be a better person. It's everything New Years resolution's try to be, but this time there is more meaning behind it. It's not just about looks or vanity or hype. It's about sacrifice and improvement.

So, once again, I find myself thinking about what I want to do during Lent. I've only had two successful Lenten seasons of sacrifice - where I made it all 40 days true to my commitment. One year was in college, and I gave up meat. (Of course like all good Catholics, seafood is not meat - why is this?) The other year was right before my wedding and I gave up junk food and sweets. (Obviously I had ulterior motives to stick to this one.) Yes, I "cheated" on Sundays that year - I'm only human. I have a sweet tooth.

So this year, I thinking about the sacrifices I can make. What's truly a sacrifice? What will help me to be a better person. What is a "better" person? I already try to live a life of love, patience and service. But perhaps I have excesses that I can eliminate. To allow me to focus more on me. Sounds like a "selfish" sacrifice, but I think a necessary one.

I like lists, so here you go:
  • Eliminate junk food, sweets, snacking, etc. Eat to live, don't live to eat. 
  • Limit time wasters - specifically on the internet and games on my phone. We don't have cable, so already I don't watch that much pointless TV (you know - watching because I'm bored or for background noise). So, for this, I'm going to try to limit myself when it comes to my true time wasters - social media sites - Facebook, Twitter/HootSuite, blogs, Google reader.
  • Hopefully this newfound "free" time will encourage me to focus on better uses of my time - working out, practicing my music, reading, writing, volunteering.
Tomorrow is another day, another season of Lent, another chance to improve. Let's see how this goes.