I’m not a religious person, but the one thing that has stuck with me from my four years of Catholic school is Lent. Not so much the biblical history behind it (though I have a vague memory of the story behind Lent) but the annual ritual of choosing something to give up for 40 days is a formidable memory of my time at that school. There was something about choosing a vice to go without for six weeks, though I can’t really say I had many vices as a young teen. I gave up chocolate every year, and I remember one year I gave up fast food. Some of my classmates would joke and choose to “go without” something they never indulged in to begin with, but I tried to at least pick something that I needed to cut back on and that I could feasibly go without for a little bit.
I nearly forgot about Lent this year. I’ve been distracted; the last few weeks have been unexpectedly hard and honestly, my focus wasn’t about giving anything up, it was about just getting through it. But when I checked the calendar and saw that Lent began in mid-February this year, I realized that it was time, once again, to check my vices and practice my annual exercise in self-discipline. It helped that in an effort to get through the hard times, I kind of just threw caution to the wayside and let everything go. Lent would be my way of getting things back on track.