I’ve never really been huge on Lent. When I was a kid, it was all about chocolate and nail biting. Could I give either of them up? (invariably, the answer was yes, begrudgingly). As I grew older, it was a sort of half-arsed attempt at trying to look pious while secretly scoffing/drinking/doing whatever it was I’d pretended to give up.
For the last few years, Lent has rather passed me by. And it was nearly the same this year. It was only through a morning twitter perusal (when I was supposed to be paying attention in a staff meeting, of course) that I realised it was Shrove Tuesday. Having decided that pancakes (despite being definitely not on the diet recipe list) were on the menu for supper tonight, I started wondering about Lent again.
I canvassed for ideas.
“Give up something you don’t really like”
None of these really struck me as going along with the spirit of things. After all, if you’re going to be a traditionalist about it, Lent is about hardship. It’s about fasting, it’s about abstinence, it’s about penitence. Lent is about giving up something you like, something you love, something you don’t think you can survive without.
Since I’m already on a diet and supposed to be going without most things I love, fasting was out. I decided to look elsewhere.
Penitence? I’m such a good girl, there’s rarely anything for me to penitent about. *cough*
So where does that leave us? Abstinence. Most people think abstinence means refraining from all things sexual. And it does, but it also means (and thank you my trusty dictionary) the “restraint of one’s appetites or desires”. Now, since I’m sure as hell not getting any (and not likely to any time soon, but that’s another story) I thought it’d be a bit of a cop out to give up sex for Lent. However, there is something I desire. For which I have an appetite.
It’s no secret. I like alcohol. Drinking is fun.
But wow. 6 weeks without a drink? No cheeky glass of wine after a hard day at work? No après? Between now and Easter I have the remainder of the 6 Nations. I have my birthday. I have St Patrick’s Day. I have a rugby tournament in Nice.
And, as I started going through all the fun things that I’ve got coming up, the realisation dawned on me – giving up alcohol would be tough. Super tough. In amidst the growing horror, I heard the dormant competitor in me, stir…
No one will think I can do it. They’ll all laugh at me. They’ll try and tempt me to give up.
And that, my friends, is the point.