But like any good-bad Catholic, there were some things that I liked about the religion. I love Latin. I love the theatricality of a good high holy day, and I liked Mardi Gras/Lent. Living in New Orleans, I got much better at the Mardi Gras than the Lent part.
Lent, for those of you who are not acquainted is the 40 days before Easter. It follows "Fat Tuesday," with "Ash Wednesday," and it asks good Catholics to live humbly--pray more, fast, go to church, no meat on Fridays, and give something up. For some reason, even when I was a cafeteria Catholic, I always loved the 40 days of sacrifice.
One year during college, I gave up TV. I remember missing the Oscars, when all my friends were hanging around in the dorm at Iowa. But, I felt inspired by remember that Jesus went out into the desert for 40 days without food or water. If he could do that, I could miss an awards show. It felt great, really.
Since then, I have tried to incorporate a span of time of trying something new or giving something up into my work. I taught my Composition 1 class as an adventure where my students had to challenge themselves to do something for 30 days and blog about it. It had mixed results. Students didn't love blogging, go figure.
Today though I can't help think about the Febulationatory Event happening out west. The walking despite over-work-related exhaustion and the giving up beer!!! Those are some impressive sacrifices. I was also inspired by the fact that the Febulational Period grew out of the idea that sometimes January is just too busy to really get going on a resolution.
Lent starts next week, February 13th. And, despite not really getting down with the spiritual elements, I think I want to give it a go on my nasty eating habits. It's scary, but it is only 40 days, right?
I am going to clean up my eating for Lent. I am thinking a sort of modified Paleo-esque diet: lots of lean protein, lots of vegetables, some fruit and nuts. Limited dairy. No beer. No booze. And, I am going to keep track of what I am noshing, in my phone and with Goldie (she is such a good friend and inspiration). And, I promised Billy, that if I fall off the wagon, I have to get right back on the next day. No giving up.
However, I am going to give my self a few "indulgences." You guys remember Western Civ, right? These are one of the things that made Martin Luther so mad In medieval Catholicism, Catholics could buy indulgences that would allow them to "get out of jail free" with God and get into heaven despite sins.
I am going to give myself 4 indulgence-days:
*The Opera Food and Wine Gala--February 15th--it is like the state fair for fancy people.
*True/False Film Festival Saturday with Martha and Matt in Columbia--March 2.
*St. Patrick's Day--February 17th
*The Birth of the Tiger--March 24
Here's the big problem, though. Even as I am writing this, I am doubting my ability to hold fast and complete this challenge. I am psyching myself out even before I start. Part of me just doesn't believe that I can do it; that it will be yet another great start that fizzles out in the face of stress and temptation. I am not saying this because I am trying to elicit sympathy or encouragement. I just need to acknowledge my crazy.
One thing that does give me encouragement, though, is that I have been riding my bike every day!
30/31 days in January
7/7 days in February
37 days of bike riding. Some of have been short. Some have been ugly, but I have done it. And, I am excited about that fact. The idea that I need to get some sort of bicycling in to my day, even if it is not much is becoming part of my routine, which is awesome.
If I can manage 37 days of bicycling, I can manage 36 days of clean eating, right? There are a lot more complications to clean eating--the shopping, the cooking, the lunch packing, and the re configuring social time with my friends.
But, the benefits could be outstanding. I don't want to be the weakest link on RAGBRAI. I don't want to blight Jessica's wedding pictures with my chunk. And, despite the fact that my
What's the worst that could happen?