This is a weird day for a former-Catholic. I know non-Catholics recognize Lent in some way, but for someone like me who grew up in Catholic schools, Ash Wednesday is like the first day of a new class whose grade is distributed on Easter. This is the day we grew up taking something out of our lives, or putting something in our lives (I said a decade of the rosary before bed every day during lent several years) to make ourselves better before Easter. Every day during Lent someone would remind us that we were supposed to be keeping a commitment, and somewhere they had probably make us write down our goals in Lent so that we could hold ourselves accountable.
Most of us still value that sentiment. Who wouldn’t? Don’t we all want some sort of extra motivation to better ourselves? And it was my experience that there were few things more powerful than proper religious motivation. I do miss that.
I always want to start something on Ash Wednesday. At least on the days that I remember. I’ll admit, sometimes Ash Wednesday comes and goes without my noticing. This year, however, my Fat Tuesday was Fat Enough that Ash Wednesday could not be ignored.
I have decided to go all out. Why not? I haven’t done an Extreme Lent (Sounds like a really crappy reality TV show) since I was in High School and feeling super-guilty about certain activities that will be discussed no further for fear of incrimination. This year I’m going to battle my own excuses. My husband hates when I say things like, “I’m too slow,” or “I’m too lazy,” or other such self-deprecating statements. He feels like I make them true by saying them, never giving myself a chance to be any other way. It’s like a self-fulfilling destiny. When I say, “I just don’t have the time,” then I’m automatically taking that time away. Whereas if I say, “I’ll make the time,” I can do just that. MAKE THE TIME.
So, I’m using Lent to make myself a Liar. These are all things I swore I couldn’t do…goals I’ve failed at meeting for any number of excuses. For 40+ days (because the Lenten season isn’t exactly 40 days, is it? I’m too lazy to Google it.) (See what I did there? Used one of my go-to excuses! I’m funny. And often still lazy.) my goal is to prove myself wrong. Prove I do have the time, the drive, the energy, the courage and the willpower to do all of the things I’ve put off or avoided lately.
20 Ways In 40+ Days To Prove To Myself That I Am A Big Fat Liar
- I’m going to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
- No Diet Cokes in the car. (For those of you who don’t know my daily habits, I never drive anywhere without a Diet Coke.) (Also, I almost deleted this one while this entry was still in “draft” mode because just the thought of driving home from boot camp without a Diet Coke makes me want to cry.)
- No Beer on weeknights. (This is become quite a crutch for me, now that I’ve quit snacking at night.)
- Eliminate non-productive internet time. (This is a metric only I can judge, but every time I’m at the computer I know whether or not it’s productive or time-wasting.)
- Start my novel and work on it every day. I like doing positive changes too. Adding things to my routine instead of just taking things away. I’ve been wanting to write a fiction since I was 12, I think I’ll at least start during Lent. I’ll write a little every day.
- Take Nikki on two photo walks: 1) Botanical Gardens and 2) Downtown.
- Let the kids make t-shirts. Another project I’ve been promising them for months and keep putting it off.
- No fast-food, even just for Diet Cokes. (Man. 40+ days without a McDonald’s Diet Coke may kill me.)
- Cook at least one new meal every week.
- Spend at least $50 at a local shop supporting local artists/craftsmen
- Take another Spirited Art class with my husband.
- Have a movie night with E…his choice…no matter how scary it is.
- Make “real” bread. Not banana or pumpkin type breads. Something you could make a sandwich with. (Do you have an easy bread recipe? I have this weird fear of making bread. Something about “rising” intimidates me.)
- Read at least 3 of the books on my “to read” list. Not counting book club books.
- Paint my nails.
- Videotape my own accent vlog.
- Buy something from a Farmer’s Market and cook it.
- Blog something (even just a photo) every day.
- Write five letters and mail them old-school style to people I love.
- Finally introduce myself to my neighbors.
I’ve told myself, “I can’t do this because [insert lame excuse here]” with each and every one of these things recently. So now? I’ll prove that I can. I may not have religious motivation, but I do totally love being Awesome. And Being Awesome can be a good motivator too.