And I begin again

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent.  As a Catholic, I have always regarded Lent as a time to begin anew, to hit the refresh or restart button.  Whatever we believe in, I think we all need a venue where we can re-examine our lives, pick out the things that do not seem to work for us, or identify those that we constantly want to do, but never get to doing.  Lent gives me that opportunity.

I usually have a list of things I would like to focus on during these 40 or so days, like a New Year’s resolution list of some sort.  They do not have to be all spiritual – and they shouldn’t be since we are not only spiritual, but we also have a physical, social and emotional aspect to our beings, among other things.  A key to realizing these resolutions is to share it with others.  This makes your resolutions official and it also makes you accountable for them, since you have to answer to your friends if they ask you about them.  The great thing about doing them in Lent is that you have a greater chance of making these resolutions a regular part of your daily life.

This year, my list is quite short, but really specific.  I wanted to come up with stuff that I can achieve in the next 40 days.

1) Abstaining from eating meat.

This will force me to cook food and discover recipes that have more vegetables or use other sources of protein.  I am not planning to be a vegetarian though, as I still plan to eat meat occasionally after Lent.  The goal here is to deliberately eat more vegetables and to always have a fruit or vegetable in every meal.

2) Cut down on the caffeine.

My doctor advised me to replace my afternoon coffee with a cup of tea or a decaf coffee.  This was almost a year ago, and I really haven’t done it.  If I can successfully pull this off, I will be very happy with myself.

3) Daily spiritual reading.

I used to be very good with this, allotting about 15-20 minutes everyday reading a spiritual book and enriching my knowledge about God.  To grow in love with someone, you have to know them better, and I want to be more in love with God!  These spiritual books will help me in nurturing this relationship.

4) Easy on the teasing.

I tease a lot, maybe too much.  I only realized this now, when I was called out for teasing.  I guess I hurt people’s feelings with all the teasing I do.  Working on this one might be a bit hard, as my teasing instincts just comes out naturally during conversations.  I really don’t mean to hurt or insult anyone, but sometimes things you say can be misconstrued for something else and cause conflict.  I guess I need to be more mindful with what I say.

5) Focus.

I want to experience and learn a lot of new things!  However, in the process of doing this, I start a lot of endeavors but never get to fully realize them.  I want to learn Spanish, take up photography, improve my swimming skills, read more classics, enjoy foreign films, the list goes on and on.  Of course, with the little time I have, I can only do much.  Thus, for Lent I decided to focus on a couple of skills and make them a priority.  I picked photography and swimming.  I just bought an entry-level DSLR and I want to learn how to make the most of it.  I also plan to do another sprint triathlon in the summer, and my swimming has always been my waterloo (pun intended).  Hopefully, by Easter, I have established a regular schedule for my swim training and I can adjust the settings of my DSLR depending on the occasion.

There you have it.  My to-do list for this Lent.  And I begin again.

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