Today is Ash Wednesday and the official beginning of Lent. The Lenten season is customarily marked by acts of penance. Penance, in layman’s, terms means: Doing something good to make up for doing something bad. Or as I see it: Recognizing one’s faults and resolving to change/improve them. So as I basically understand it, Lent is the time to change a bad habit or give up something that you know is bad for you. And if you are lucky, the change could become a new “good habit” by Easter. It sounds suspiciously like New Year’s Resolutions, only those are supposed to be for the whole year and don’t have the approximate 6 week expiration date of Lenten promises (after which you can return to your bad habits). So I decided to use today to revisit my New Year’s Resolutions (see post here) and see how I am fairing.
My first resolution was to eat healthier and exercise more. I have lengthened my yoga routine and perform it at least 5 times a week (sometimes more). My body complains whenever I skip it. My feet and ankles are getting stronger and I’ve found some cardio moves that I can do that don’t put too much pressure on my feet. I must confess that I am still eating unhealthy snacks after dinner and am trying desperately to stop. I am so mad at myself afterwards, but can’t seem to keep myself from doing it. Needless to say, no weight loss has occurred.
Resolution number two was for my entire family to yell less and listen more. I must say that I was doing great until the end of January when I exploded over my eldest daughter’s lack of concern about practicing for her speech and song for the impending Jr. Beta Convention. I was so frustrated with her indifferent attitude that I didn’t even realize I was yelling until it was over. Then I got even angrier because she made me break my resolution and still didn’t grasp the need for more practice. I have been trying ever since to get my yelling back under control but I have not yet succeeded (and neither has the rest of the family). Perhaps Lent can give us a new beginning.
My third resolution was to be happier and create a “Happiness Journal” to record things that make me happy and things that I am thankful for. I started off great (not exactly). I purchased a journal and titled it. Then one month later (February 4th, to be exact) I made my first entry in it. It was two pages long and consisted of me venting my frustrations about my entire family. In the end I finally managed to find two tiny things to be grateful for. One week later I managed a list of three things that I was happy about. I haven’t touched it since. It’s time for a re-boot on Resolution 3 as well.
In many ways I am grateful for the Lenten Season to give me a chance to renew my resolve to make positive changes in my life. If people can give up chocolate, red meat, or soft drinks for 6 weeks, surely I can give up yelling. And “midnight” snacks. And unhappiness.