As Shrove Tuesday has come and gone as quickly as we could shovel down ten pancakes dripping in lemon, chocolate and all things delicious, you wake up on a Wednesday morning, with a food hangover. Memories are blurred from the night before, where you seemed to be drunk on maple syrup, and as you look down at your stomach, disgusted, you vow, ‘I am giving up chocolate/ sugar/ fat/ carbs etc. for lent!’. Six whole weeks you spend torturing yourself at the sight of a crème egg, crying internally when a friend offers you a biscuit and then when it’s all over, you scoff six weeks’ worth of your beloved, in one sitting, feeling just as grim as you did on pancake day.
Now don’t get me wrong, lent does have a genuine and significant meaning to those who follow Christianity, however, as in line with many occasions on the British calendar, religion doesn’t really play a part for much of society today. We give up chocolate because we want to be healthier, have a detox, or just to set ourselves a ‘challenge’. Some attempt to be more inventive, they proclaim six weeks without Instagram, Netflix, alcohol etc., and I highly admire a lot of people that do deny themselves of something they probably do daily, because it’s really hard!
But here is where I differ in 2017. Every year, many of us will spend six weeks having pangs of misery not being able to enjoy something when they want, guilt when we fall off the wagon, and more often than not, feel worse once we binge at the end of our struggle. Why would we put ourselves through this pain and discontent to then inevitably reverse the effects on Easter Sunday?
So my decision is to do something positive with lent. Every day I am not going to deny myself of anything, I am instead going to DO something. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all use those six weeks to do some thing positive, such as learning a new language, creating a new (good) habit, de-cluttering your house (for a few off the top of my head examples!).
And so, for lent this year, I have decided that I am going to perform a random act of kindness every day. Be that as small as complimenting my housemate’s hair, or as charitable as helping my university donate food to the homeless. But my aim is simple, to remove the typically negative uses of lent and make it positive. That is 42 days I can use to perform 42 acts of kindness to make someone, a group of people, my family, friends and myself, happy, even for the briefest amount of time. And the same goes for any of these ‘positive lent’ actions, after 42 days you could be able to say a few sentences in Spanish, able to juggle on one foot, or have a stupidly clean downstairs cupboard, my point is, you’ll finish those six weeks not being glad it is all over, but perhaps glad it happened.
And so I challenge you all not to give up something for lent, but to start something new, do something positive, and make your life, or someone else’s better for six weeks, not miserable! Now go and have that chocolate biscuit you have hidden in the cupboard, guilt free and happy.
Much Love x
P.S. I’ll be posting all of the acts on my Instagram feed/ stories so for anyone who is interested, bored or just plain nosey (I would be) – go have a look https://www.instagram.com/hollyambwest/