I’ve never actively practiced Lent, though The Chancellor does (I believe he’s giving up sugar for the next 4o days, which is a kind of mental fortitude I have never known). NOTE: though neither of us is Catholic, we like to look at the Christian year in a thoughtful, reflective sense. Thus, Lent is, in a general Christian sense, a time to reflect on practices and intentions.
There’s something to be said about making sacrifices and rethinking your processes and intentions. A lot of people relate Lent to food-related sacrifice, though I think that’s something that can be a year-round intention. Since about Christmas time, we’ve been rethinking our food choices and processes about preparing and cooking, which has definitely helped our mindsets a lot. Some of these resolutions have included:
- As much homemade, ingredients-only cooking as we can find (with the internet, that’s not hard at all!). The Chancellor has begun making our butter, which is yummy and based on one ingredient: cream. He also makes our bread. This guy is a winner, I tell you.
- Eliminating as many processed, packaged foods as possible (which means fewer veggie-meat dishes and more legumes-based dishes–ultimately healthier and cheaper).
- Greatly decreasing our eating out budget. This means knowing what our weekly menu is like and planning ahead, so we don’t have to rely on fast foods or skip meals.
- I have also given up coffee, except for a treat every once in a great while. I don’t remember the last time I had one, actually (maybe October?). I accidentally gave it up for Lent last year, and I liked it so much, I’ve unofficially continued not drinking coffee. Instead, I drink more water and herb tea when I need a hot beverage.
But enough about food (for now). I think this year, I need a mindset check. A resolution to give up bad mental habits. And one of those is complaining. I complain a lot. Granted, I do have some minor stresses and annoyances in my life right that are just not going away anytime soon. What is the easiest way to let off steam? Complain. I think I need to give up complaining and turn that frustration into something more productive…like exercise. I’m not really a fan of sweating, but I need to work my body out. So, this could be a productive way to let off steam.
Plus, my life is great. Nothing is perfect, but I have a LOT to be thankful for. I have to continually remind myself that I’m in a great place right now. A partner that I adore. A clean, comfortable home. Supportive, loving family. Many, many friends. Knowledge. A job I usually enjoy, complete with a great batch of students. A doctoral program that I am now more fully enjoying. All these are good things I cannot let a bad attitude sully.
So, that’s what’s (not) cooking for Lent: complaining. Griping. Needless energy spent wasted on things that I shouldn’t. Perhaps that’s what the spirit of Lent is about: giving up the things we don’t need, and gratefully acknowledging those we do.