I have been avoiding blogging lately. I think about posts I could write all the time but whenever it comes down to it, I can’t make myself. I feel this bizarre sense of obligation to update and that makes me not want to do it. I am on the computer most of the day at work and I spend so much of my free time doing computer-related activities for various organizations (InterFuture, I’m looking at you) that when it comes to keeping a personal blog, I just can’t seem to commit. Even though I like it! It forces me to write! It is good for professional development! Etc.
Any of you internet folks feel this way ever? It’s the same reason I gave up Twitter. How do you make yourself do the extra work for your own, personal social media presence?
Anyway. On to the topic I actually intended to write about…
Today is the first day of lent.
I could not be less Catholic if I tried. Less religious, in general, even. I am an atheist. Despite that, I have an attachment to multiple religious-based holidays…not for the spiritual element, but for the practical purposes that they have served for humans for hundreds of years. Christmas, for example – a great way to spend time with family and friends, a day to look forward to during the darkest, coldest time of year. Without Christmas, winter (in New England, anyway) would suck much more than it already does.
So if you buy my logic up to this point…
Another religious tradition M. and I have been talking about recently is lent. Lent is about Jesus, sure, but it was also about finding a way to make provisions last during the leanest time of year. If we all lived off of totally local food, March would be the hardest month in climates like New England. There would be absolutely no fresh produce yet and the storage of winter vegetables and grains would be growing slimmer and slimmer. April – and fresh food again – is just around the corner but getting through late February and March would be tough business. So for practical reasons, people cut things out of their diet, using spiritual growth as a tool to manage the reduced diets.
Humans have been doing this for thousands of years in different cultures (things similar to lent exist in practically every religion). I like the idea of participating in lent in my own way, not only as an excuse to live a healthier/more pure lifestyle for a set time period, but also to know that you are struggling to do so with many other people around you, with a history of billions of people at your back.
So what am I giving up this lean time of year? Sugar. M., too – his idea, actually. Only cane sugar and artificial sweeteners – honey and maple syrup are ok – which I suspect will be very easy at home but difficult when out. And at work, where candy and cookies and sugar-filled treats of all kinds tend to fill the staff room.
So how did we celebrate Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday in the UK/Ireland) – the day when you rid your house of the temptations you will be avoiding the coming weeks and indulge for one last night? We ate every last piece of chocolate in the house AND got a banana split from Herrell’s. Not a bad night. Not a bad night at all.