Giving up drinking for lent

Lent? What’s lent? I suppose I should deal with that question first. Easter’s over, and I did a thing for 40 days before Easter that I’d like to talk about. So what is Lent? According to the ‘pedia of Wiki:

Lent (LatinQuadragesima – English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayerpenancerepentance of sins, almsgiving,atonement and self-denial.”

There’s a lot more to it that you can read on the site; growing up with Roman Catholic upbringing meant that lent was a time when I denied myself something that I loved the most to prove my Love to God. As I grew older and decided that the church, and organized religion wasn’t for me, lent became more about maintaining moderation. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I really think there’s something to that.

No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART
image credit: No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART

When I was younger1, I would give up chocolate. That was hard. I might even say it was harder than giving up drinking. I mean, I can drink a lot but I don’t *need* to drink a lot. I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking everyday, and that’s the very reason I’ve decided to give it up for lent in the first place, but I don’t need to do it everyday.

By giving it up though, I achieve the same level of tolerance that lets me drink a small amount to experience the optimum relaxation that I seek when I reach for a glass in the first place. In the past2, it was more about denying myself the pleasure of eating my favourite thing in the whole world3. Now though, it’s more about remaining the kind of person who can function well without too many crutches4.

I’m being more lenient with myself this year, and I am finding it quite liberating5. Last year, I only allowed myself one free day. It was someone’s birthday and I didn’t want to be a wet blanket talking about moderation and what not, so I had a few and instead opted not to celebrate with a drink on Easter Sunday6. Last year, I equated alcohol to chocolate and this year I’ve realized it isn’t so much the substance but the circumstance, and the emotions tied to the need for a drink.

It was trying. Not just because I had made the decision to give up the drink; rather, it was a pretty trying point in my life. There were all sorts of problems – money, love, health, you name it. There were hints of problems in every category, at best. I’ll be honest, I stopped a few days early. Easter was on April 20th and I had my first drink on April 15th. Mind you, I didn’t drink every night until Easter after that point. April 15th was a very special occasion to me, and it deserved a little celebratory drink. I had a couple of other days of drinks in there, but as I had previously mentioned – they were to celebrate birthdays, and other such special occasions.

It’s certainly an exercise that I plan to continue in the future. I think that I rely on external relief far too often, and that is simply not healthy. If I need to deprive myself of something like this, once in a while, to remind myself that I have it in me to get through whatever it is that I’m going through then so be it. At least I have the cohonas to actually do it, right?

What did you give up for Lent?

Footnotes:
  1. you know, before I could drink all the booze I wanted[]
  2. when I was giving up chocolate[]
  3. at the time[]
  4. easier said than done, right?[]
  5. well, who woulda thunk![]
  6. the day that one would normally be able to resume whatever it was that was given up for lent[]

Like it was yesterday

In Memory September 11 2001

I can’t believe it has been 12 years since the day that we all call 9/11 happened. I remember being woken up by my boyfriend at the time1, and being slightly upset with him. I was trying to sleep in because I had just flown in the night before from visiting Jackie in L.A. I had been there for three weeks and the flight was almost delayed to the next morning. That very morning when horrible things happened that have affected so many lives in ways we’re probably not even done realizing yet.

He told me to turn on the TV and despite my crankiness, I heard something in his voice that I had never heard to such an extent, so I did. And I swear I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity. I held my breath as if I was making a wish before I blow out a birthday cake. I was praying that it was all some sick joke or publicity stunt. It was ridiculous to wish for, but I just wanted something other than the truth to be that a plane had flown into a very important building in New York City.

All that happened though, was that things got worse. I don’t need to re-tell the story because we all know what happened. And we would continue to hear more stories from people2. We all lost something that day. We all lost a little faith, a little hope, innocence… even when we thought we didn’t have any more of those things to lose. Then we started hearing stories about the heroes; the ones who stood in the face of evil and told it to fuck off. And even though their efforts were in vain, it helped to know that they didn’t go down without a fight.

I have lived a lucky life to only know of such horrible loss from a distance. My heart goes out to those who weren’t so lucky. I will always remember.

Footnotes:
  1. a sweet guy who was way too mature for me at the time, If I knew back then what I know now I never would have let him go[]
  2. and we would eat them up because for some of us knowing the details helps us cope[]

War

I don’t like to think about war and the destruction that is naturally associated with it but I’m forcing myself to do so today because so many people lived1 it for the sake of the future – for us. Our generation often waxes poetic about how generations of the past didn’t know any better2 but they sure had more faith that we do.

I can only begin to imagine what they went through3 and what I imagine is intense and so powerful… and I can’t help but think that it must have been that much more so.

We don’t know what it feels like to be constantly on edge fearing for your life and yet having to find some meaning in your existence; something to find joy in. While I think war is wasteful and absolutely fucking stupid, I am in awe of the people who went to war for what they believed in. Being around that much death, being the one to execute someone’s life changes a person.

I could have complaints about my life but it’s people like those who fought in war4 that drive me to force myself to suck. it. up. I’m only human and will let complaints slip out every now and then but I know how blessed of a life I have led and continue to lead. So today, I am going to mourn the people I’ll never get to meet because they died fighting for our freedom; the people who survived their friends and come back broken; the people who didn’t go to war but had to attempt to continue to live their lives while their most-beloved is out fighting for their lives (and are no doubt equally broken).

I wasn’t living in this part of the world when it all happened5 and I have been lucky enough that my life hasn’t been directly touched by any subsequent wars/battles but I am enjoying the benefits of their sacrifices and I’ll be damned if I take any of it for granted.

Footnotes:
  1. I am aware some still do, I think about them too[]
  2. take the current environmental issues we’re dealing with for example[]
  3. yes, I know I can read about it too but even only that limits my experience to the spread of my own imagination[]
  4. and those who are still living in war now[]
  5. I wasn’t living at all when any of it happened[]

When change hurts

It has been a journey to say the least. The last few months have been a wonderful whirlwind of ups, downs and important lessons and realizations. I think the one lesson that I didn’t expect to learn after all this is that despite being able to adapt to my surroundings extremely well -how much my bearings are affected if I don’t have a proper place to sleep.

For the last three months I have been sleeping on my Ikea love-seat because I couldn’t sleep on my bed1 until three nights ago. Depending on what way you look at it, you could say it cost me a lot but I don’t think placing blame on circumstance does me any good so it just is what it was: a learning experience. Heck, it didn’t kill me right?

30 years. As of some time in the late evening on November 7th, the cells and whatever spirit that make up this girl right here would have been alive for 30 years. I’ll admit there is a part of me that feels like a bit of a disappointment but then there’s another part of me that knows that my life is only just beginning so long as I allow myself the chance at said beginning.

Live each day as if it were your last. Someone great said that to me recently as we were walking the 6.5kms to my new home2 at 4am. By the way, don’t let the knowledge of this act taint your image of bohunkCA; he was the perfect jerk as always – and yes ladies, he was totally topless the whole way there 😉

I want to make an art out of living life, where I find joy in every little moment of every day – regardless of what is going on at the time. Growing up, I had never really paid much attention to the things that really made my heart soar. I knew the obvious things like music3, food, love, and sex… all those self-indulgent sort of things. But now I’m paying more attention to how happy it makes me to be around people like my family and closest friends4.

I know I have lot of work to do up ahead of me but I do think I am up to the task. It feels strange to say that I have never really felt this ready before but I guess I’m just done being afraid. I’m still in the process of getting my life back but I have no doubt that whatever is coming next is going to be amazing. It’s been amazing even when it should have been horrible so how could it not?!

I want to know though: did you love or hate turning 30?

Footnotes:
  1. I really don’t want to say it, don’t make me say it: I had bed bugs[]
  2. it was so old school I couldn’t resist but agree to walk home with him[]
  3. specifically singing[]
  4. the ones who have stuck by me no matter what fucked up shit I’ve done – you know who you are[]