I was raised Catholic. “Lent” is a word that I associate with ashes and approximately seven days of personal sacrifice. Like many of my peers, I’ve been “trying” to give something up for Lent since I was a little kid, even though the practice was never taken particularly serious in my family. At age eight, I remember telling my mother that would I give up green beans. At age 13, my Uncle Jim told me that as Irish Catholics, we benefited from a specific provision that allowed us to break our Lenten promise on Sundays. And every year that I can remember, my dad has exerted a laughable effort to give up “chocolate” (as the days go by, this definition usually evolves into a single brand or type of chocolate delicacy).


Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 11.46.42 AMOn paper, giving something up for 40 days shouldn’t be that hard. And sometimes it isn’t. If you specify your chosen vice enough, or if you secretly plan to abandon all Lenten practices on Sundays, it won’t be difficult. Your 40 days of “renunciation” will pass by largely unnoticed. For the past few years, I have made Lent simple. I haven’t felt exceptionally close to God for a while now, I haven’t gone to church since I’ve been at UD, and I certainly haven’t felt the need to commit to 40 days of sacrifice. I’ve given up things like swearing (but only on weekdays), dining hall desserts (with the exemption of cookies and ice cream), and gum (unless of course I have just consumed an everything bagel or am studying).


This year however, I am accepting the challenge otherwise known as Lent. One of my roommates and I have decided to give up all sweets, including but not limited to SAS cupcakes, Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses, UDairy ice cream, pretzels smothered in Nutella, and dining hall chocolate chip cookies. It’s going to be incredibly difficult. I fully anticipate a number of cranky days and tormented nights. But that’s the point. Whether you’re Catholic or not, giving something up, something that you value too much or that you consume in excess, clears a space in your life for something positive. Making a sacrifice for 40 days demonstrates self-discipline, a willingness to prioritize, a certain level of maturity. No matter your religion, it’s good to evaluate your virtues and vices every once in a while. Without my hand in a bag of Cadbury eggs, who knows what I will be able to accomplish.

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