We're not even a full three weeks into Lent and I've been trying and rejecting Lenten vows faster than a Millennial flips through Tinder. Herewith, a list-in-progress. It will probably get longer:
1. Whole food eating. I thought I could jump on the big health trend of eating whole foods only for 30 days and do it one better, by adding God and stretching out to 40 the number of days for which I ate only unprocessed, minimally prepared fresh food.
But wait. What's that you say? Crusty sourdough bread is considered a processed food, and so is the butter with which it is designed to be slathered?
Excuse me driver, can you pull over here? I'm definitely on the wrong bus.
2. No sugar. When not one but TWO sermons in a row are about how merely giving up chocolate for Lent is an incomplete, immature understanding of the opportunity for reflection that Lent gives us, I don't argue. Say no more, chocolate and its decadent peers are back in the daily rotation. I don't want anyone to think I'm immature.
3. No more single nightly beer. Most nights, I drink one to ease me into a state of grace as I cook dinner. Giving it up serves no one in my family well. No.
4. Write 2,000 words/day on my book project. On Ash Wednesday I wrote 2,001 words. The next day: 165 words. Every day since: zero, but the lack of productivity is accompanied by at least 3,000 words of daily self-recrimination.
5. Three gratitudes and a kindness. I read a great article somewhere about a company that saw its worker productivity and satisfaction skyrocket when it handed out journals in which to record, every day, three things to be grateful for, and one kindness done for another person. Apparently the simple act of recording those things helped buoy happiness and overall satisfaction. Sounded easy enough.
But first, I chucked the idea of actually writing it down. (See #4.) I decided I could just reflect on it in bed after I climbed in for the night. This vow may actually have some staying power, at least on the nights when I don't fall asleep by Gratitude Thing #2 and never even get to the kindness party. Which is, so far, every night.
6. Acceptance of my flaws and shortcomings. See this blog post? There. I did it.