I’ve always found lent a curious concept. This is probably because I don’t subscribe to organised religion, and nothing what-so-ever to do with my utter lack of will-power for things I deem pointless.
Why does a large part of the population enter into this ridiculous charade every year? What does going without something for 40 days really achieve? “Oh, just to prove I can.” Really? How old are you? Surely you know what you are and aren’t capable of? I can, to an extent, understand giving up something that’s bad for you, for example I once had a friend who gave up smoking for lent, with the intention of giving up for good. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
Is starving yourself of chocolate for 40 days going to make you thin? Given that you’re probably quite likely to switch to cake, crisps, or something similar I would hazard to guess it may even have the opposite effect – probably beginning in a moment of gluttony akin to the scene in Chocolat with the priest (or mayor, in the film) in the window of the chocolaterie.
So, if it’s not beneficial health wise, what really is the point?
Who knows, and apparently some things aren’t suitable to give up! For example, according to the po-faced bible-basher I once suggested it to, ‘giving up giving things up’ isn’t entering into the spirit of the season, I imagine giving up ‘going to church’ would not go down so well either. So, there seem to be restrictions on what you can even give up! Ridiculous. Thus this year I’m not giving anything up, I see no point in ‘testing myself’ when I know I could quite easily do it, if I tried. And besides, I don’t want to try.
Having said all this, I guess that ultimately this is all utterly hypocritical as I am doing something. But that’s also exactly it, I’m doing something, I’ve not pointlessly given something up, I’ve taken something up. Every day (probably stretching out beyond Easter Sunday, as it happens) I will go for a walk, a run, a cycle, or a trip to the gym. I’m not doing it to ‘suffer like others’, or by some deluded sense of self-sacrifice for the plight of the world; I’m doing it for me. So there. It seemed as good as any a time to start it and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. There’s been no breakdown, no guzzling, no ‘oh no, I broke lent!’ stress, because ultimately it doesn’t matter if I succeed or not. It’s not really a challenge, how hard is it to find half an hour or an hour in the day? Especially when I’m trying to avoid my mountain of work as much as humanly possible.
So here’s what I get instead of the rumbling stomach and the cravings, I get to look at scenes like these (except this is a photo from last summer, the camera batteries died before I could get something for here!)