With the Easter holiday and the start of the soccer season things have been mighty busy in these parts, but hey, what's a little mainlined caffeine among friends? Anyway, I have been wanting to write an update on what I learned from my Lent experiment.
First I've gotta say that all things considered I think it was a great experience. Even though I didn't manage to keep my resolve for the whole 38 days (you didn't think I was going to be perfect did you?), I did significantly reduce my book habit, and I didn't get any yarn at all. All in all I was pretty good at eliminating non-essential spending, and even more import to me was that every time I did get something I thought about it more carefully. I weighted the benefit vs. my desire to maintain my resolve.
The things I did end up buying I at least had to square with myself how they would a serve a higher purpose. So what was it that I just couldn't wait for? Pastels, paper and oboe reeds. With all my thinking about what was worth the expense I discovered that what I really wanted was to pursue my artistic aspirations.
That's right. Can you believe it? All I had to do is give up a bad habit and I discovered more of what really mattered to me in life.
I got another great thing from my Lent/Easter experience. Though I have done some spending since the end of Lent, it has been with a whole new purpose. The fiber and yarns I have picked up are no longer about what cool new thing I'm going to make for myself, but are either for projects I plan to do with my kids, or they are for using my talent to make a serious go at a creative career. It may seem like a small distinction, but internally it feels like a major shift. I've also found myself looking for even more ways to give charitably, as well as volunteer. What's not to love about that?
The suffering of Lent allowed me the time to see myself in a new way. Owning my materialism, first by choosing that as my target behavior for Lent, and then voluntarily living without that self-indulgence is changing the way I approach my life. And while I hope that I don't have great hardship in my future, I do think my practice of sacrifice worked. I feel a lot more confident that I could handle it if it did.
Maybe it means I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'm really looking forward to next year's Lent. I'm even planning on starting on time! If we really want to have a better world, with less narcissism and more community...well...I believe you gotta start at home, with yourself, so that's what I'm doing. How about you? Did you practice Lent this year? Why or why not, and if you did, how did it go?