February 25th, 2004


Lent Begins

I'm not Catholic. I'm a Christian, but I don't regularly practice any specific denomination. Even so, I like to "give something up" for Lent.

It's not really giving something up though, it's more like a Lenten Resolution. I don't make new year's resolutions, as they are too likely to be doomed to failure. Resolving to do something your whole life is just way too monumental a task to contemplate on January 1st. Even resolving to do something for 365.25 days is awfully daunting. That's why the majority of new year's resolutions are broken.

So I make Lenten Resolutions. Lent is 40 days, plus some sundays. 46 days? Something like that, I haven't counted. Anyway, it's a specifically defined time period, between Mardigras and Easter. It's a large enough time block to be challenging, but it's manageable. Making a small life-change for Lent is a great way of proving to myself that I don't need some of the luxuries I depend on, and that healthy changes are possible, even if challenging.

Generally they don't stick very long past Lent. Generally. But.... last year, like the year before, I gave up using the elevator in my office building. I am pleased to report that I have not even set foot in any of my building's elevators since Mardigras last year. That's right: I just never started again. I never saw the point. The longer I abstained, the more important it became. Each time I consider using the elevator, I have to ask myself: do I really want to break my almost-year-long streak? Is it really worth that much to me, that I can't take the stairs? And it hasn't been, there's never been a good-enough reason, so for a year now I've taken the stairs to the fourth floor. Every day, usually a few times a day. I'm very proud of this fact.

It is very possible I may break that streak, after I have knee surgery next month. That might be a worthwhile excuse. But I don't really want to... we'll see how I feel, the first day I return to work.

So Lent this year will be a bit different. I'm expecting to have knee surgery smack dab in the middle of Lent, and I want to baby myself a bit through that. That may seem a bit pathetic, but I expect that I will be unhappy enough as it is -- I'd rather not deprive myself of sweets, or ice cream, or something similar that might make the time a bit more tolerable. Also, I can't give myself an exercise routine to do every morning, since I'll be incapacitated for part of the time.

Therefore, I've settled on the following Lenten Resolutions:
  • Give up fast food for the whole of Lent
  • Continue giving up the elevator as long as possible
  • Do my TE 5-minute aerobic workout, plus 100 crunches, every morning until surgery

Post-surgery, I'll just see what happens. I'm just not sure how I'll feel yet, nor how quickly I'll bounce back. I guess I'll find out soon enough!