Saturday, 4 March 2017
Each year there are two occasions when we reflect on our lives and muse on the things we wish to change in ourselves. The first is New Year - 365 days stretched out ahead of us ready to be filled with trips to the gym, diets, foreign travel, the learning of new skills or the breaking of a bad habit, which means that come the next year we are the version of ourselves we hope to be.
The second is Lent. Despite beginning on a different date each year, it offer the chance to jump back on the wagon, should we have failed to stick to our New Year's Resolutions, or to give up something we know is sort of bad for us (drinking, smoking, chocolate, gossiping, swearing etc.) but which we can go back to after Lent is over.
Usually I view Lent as a period to be endured and try to get through as quickly as possible so that I can go back to eating chocolate or having a glass of Merlot after work. My motivation usually being 'it'll be over in 40 days, hang tight' or 'Jesus went through crucifixion, you can last 40 days without some Cadbury's'.
However, there is another way to view Lent. A very wise man once told me that you should not focus on the hardship of what you are giving up but focus on the time you have gained back and reallocate this time to something positive. Do you spend 20 minutes a day on Tinder? That's 20 minutes you could spend learning Swedish. Do you spend an hour a day playing video games? That's an hour you could use to learn to cook a new dish.
This lent I have decided to give up watching TV (well Netflix, iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD as I do not own a TV) and reallocate my time to other things such as reading, playing the piano, crafting, and working through my '30 things to do before I am 30' list.
Admittedly it has only been 3 days since Lent began, and I have not caved and watch Made In Chelsea, Gossip Girl or Tattoo Fixers, but so far I am enjoying this Lent far more than my previous one. It is interesting how much a change of perspective can impact on our outlook and thinking. Now back to trying to master Moonlight Sonata, reading War and Peace and knitting a laptop sock!