Today is the day millions of people give up something. They give this something up for 40 days. They give it up for their religion or for their beliefs. They give it up as a personal challenge. They give it up for tradition. They give up this something that means everything to them for these 40 days.
I’m not Catholic, nor religious, so I have never given up anything for Lent. I do, however, understand the appeal of this simple challenge. Go without for 40 set days, with the support of close family and friends, to see if you can do it. This kind of personal undertaking builds character, demonstrates will power and increases self-esteem. As a runner, and soon marathoner (more on this tomorrow), I not only respect the dedication, but I admire it. I do this every time I take on a training program. With one big goal in mind, I set out with mini goals to carry out my mission. I get this. I need this.
That being said, I will not be giving up anything for lent.
Again I don’t say this in a way that challenges anyone else’s choice to do so, or the religious beliefs that brought them to such a decision. I don’t want to get overly sensitive about this, but I don’t want it confused as an anti-religious movement or agnostic statement. I want to make this clear.
But with everyone removing various vices from their life, it got me thinking.
I’m a person who constantly challenges myself. I need this constant challenge, as it stimulates me and pushes me forward toward my goals. I’ve taken personality tests that show this very thing. “This person is a hard worker that needs constant activity and stimulation.” It’s both a blessing … and a curse.
This blog is a testament to my many challenges: 30 at 30, stash knit downs and watching all the movies on the AFI 100 are just a few examples of recent undertakings. This month I joined my friend in a challenge to only wear 30 articles of clothing during the month of February (varying accessories acceptable, doing laundry encouraged).
So why does the girl who’s always challenges herself not want to give up something for lent?
Mainly because I’m always giving up or challenging myself to do this or taking on that. Between my day job, personal obligations, volunteer efforts for @LoganSquarist and basic daily chores, there are only so many hours in a day (to my dismay). I know some of you can relate.
So during this season of giving up, I’m adding. Instead of denial, I’m going for fulfillment. Instead of subtracting, I’m looking to gain.
For the next 40 days, and hopefully even longer, I’m giving myself permission to add to my life. Add life balance, add forgiveness, add doing absolutely nothing on a Sunday for no other reason than I want to. Add love and friendship and peace and harmony. I’m setting on a 40-day challenge to love myself for who I am, exactly how I am, for no other reason but to do it.
Sounds like a challenge? Maybe. But after 40 days of trying, trying will turn into habit. And habits aren’t challenging at all.
Here’s to 40 days. I’ll see you on the other side.