I’m giving up sweets again for Lent this year. I did it two years ago for the first time and it went pretty well. It enraged my family and made my pants fit a little less snugly, which for me are two signs of success.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing observing Lent?” My relatives asked me. “You weren’t raised Catholic. What the damn crap?”
It’s true that my decision to give something up for Lent is not the product of religious devotion, or even interest. Some might find this disconcerting or insulting. Why observe a religious tradition just because you think you need a break from junk food? I don’t have an easy answer to that, but I will say that giving something up DOES lead me to think more about the things I take for granted in life. It also leads to some vigorous and groundless whining. Mainly, though, I just like a challenge. I think the part of me that enjoys running outside in the rain, living through Boston winters, and taking unreliable public transportation, is the part that thinks giving up something for Lent is a swell idea. And 40 days is a long time to go without sweets when you’re the kind of person who considers chocolate covered pretzels to be part of a complete breakfast. The other part being coffee.
Last year I gave up beer for Lent, and that was much harder to go without than sweets. Think about it; when you’re in the mood for a cookie, you can always go have a beer or two instead. Eventually you’ll forget about the cookie. But when you’re in the mood for a beer and instead you have a cookie, you just feel sad about life.
So, here goes. As of today, no dessert for me. I’ll try not to whine too much about how I miss desserts, because when you get right down to it, I’m not being all that hard-core. I’m still drinking soda and putting sugar in my coffee. There’s only so much a girl can take. Even Boston winters have their warm days.