Ash Wednesday and the Promise of New Good Habits

My mother, the devout Catholic, and my father, who listens to my mother, raised me in the Catholic Church. I spent every year of my education in a Catholic school until I left for college. For reasons too detailed to list here in this blog post, I have  stopped identifying fully with the Church. Still, I can’t help but feel pulled to keep certain traditions that I believe do make a difference, for me personally.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, and the starting the countdown to Easter.  I can’t tell you why, but I love Easter time more than the other holidays. I think that the hope for renewal and rebirth, the promise of new life is beautiful to me. Catholic or not, I really love that! While I didn’t go to mass and receive my Ashes, I do try to give up something, and take on something, for Lent. Just because I am still on my journey to figure out just what I believe in,  doesn’t  mean that I can’t celebrate what I do. And I believe that me giving up something that I love (and in this case, isn’t always good for me), will bring me some clarity on how much I need it, how much I appreciate it, and could I spend my resources on something else.

That being said, I’m giving up Alcohol for Lent. I love beer. Craft beers. Stouts. IPA’s. Pale Ale’s. Hefenwiessen. Lagers. Brown Ales. Chocolate Stouts. Beer Margaritas. Tequila. Wild Turkey American Honey, on the rocks or with a splash of soda water. Cold, Smooth Vodka. Vodka Tonic. Gin and Tonic. Hendricks Gin Especially. OH MY GOD the list can go on and on. I’m quittin’ the hittin’ of the bottle, with the exception of wine once during the weekend (THAT’S IT). As I told my best friend via text message yesterday, I don’t want to set myself up for failure by eliminating all traces, because then I will want what I can’t have and break my own fast. Plus Jesus liked wine.

Still, this crap is draining my wallet. Increased stresses mean increased need for Happy Hours with friends. That’s more money I’m wasting, when I could be saving it for something special. That’s more weight I’m gaining, and more health risks I’m taking as a pre-diabetic. I’m in no rush to replace Wilford Brimley, so I need to pay attention to this. I love my afternoon cocktails and delights, but I don’t need them. I am curious, so I asked myself, “What else can I enjoy to unwind that is a good habit?”

For one, I am going to get my ass to the gym more. I started trying to squeeze workouts in before class, and I find that I’m much less rage-y when I do. Even if I’m just going for a long walk, its beneficial. I’m not as anxious before class, or emotional when my project critiques don’t go well (which they rarely do).  Today I’m going to a beginners Hatha Yoga class to get back in the yoga sling, and this weekend, I’ll likely try a kickboxing class or hot yoga. I’ll work out, do my school work, and stay as busy as possible. School is sucking my life of any fun that existed before, so it isn’t all that hard. I’ll try to find other ways to celebrate things with friends, and when I partake in my red wine on Sundays, I’ll be much more appreciative of it.


Wish me luck!



2 Comments to “Ash Wednesday and the Promise of New Good Habits”

  1. Hey, if we aren’t drinking, we might make progress on the Project!

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