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It’s about that time

Anneliese Woolford | Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Does anyone have as difficult a time as I do? Finding something to sacrifice for Lent, that is.To be honest, I completely forgot about it – not Lent, just about having to give something up. It seemed like Christmas was barely yesterday and now here we are at Ash Wednesday already. The only way that I did remember was thanks to a frantic Instant Message Monday from my friend laughing hysterically at what one of our guy friends has, apparently, decided to do. Just think “40 Days, 40 Nights” – that Josh Hartnett flick that came out a couple of years ago to demonstrate how religiously flippant some Catholics can be. It’s not the idea itself that sent me into hysterics along with my friend – after all, I’m sure more than a few of us have considered it as well at some point. It’s just amusing knowing this person and thinking that he’ll actually try to be serious about this. I give it a week – tops. Really though, why am I the one left struggling each year over, what seems to be, a relatively easy decision?I remember back in grade school when my classmates and I didn’t quite understand what the purpose was in having to give up something we liked. Everyone decided chocolate would be suitable; it was the old standby. Our parents rarely gave it to us on a regular basis anyway, so it wasn’t like there was too much to miss, right? Then there were those, like me, who didn’t like chocolate much, but followed the crowd and took the easy way out. How I saw it, I could have all the vanilla pudding I wanted – and I did.As I got older, I somehow fell into the mentality that Lenten sacrifice could tie in with a New Year’s resolution. If I decided to give up candy in attempt to maintain a better diet, I just figured that it was a year-round sacrifice that included Lent, but more importantly killed two birds with one stone. (I always look for the practicality in things.) The real problem came when I started making New Year’s resolutions, such as to exercise more or to stop biting my nails. My mom finally caught on that extending these over Lent didn’t meet the definition – at least her definition – of a sacrifice. I didn’t enjoy biting my nails, it was just habit, so I wasn’t really missing out on anything.This year, I think I’m going to go with something tougher: pop, or should I say, “soda.” I drink a glass of Coke or Pepsi at least twice a day, sometimes in immediate succession and sometimes at 7 a.m. I’d say giving that up qualifies as a sacrifice. I realize that I’m certainly not a model Catholic. I could do more to become involved in my religion, and I’m sure I will at some point. But, for now, this is one aspect I try to take seriously although I haven’t always in the past. Just hide the Coke and I’ll be fine – at least I know I can hold out for more than a week.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Anneliese Woolford at [email protected]