Wednesday was the first day of Lent. For my non-Christian readers, Lent is a holy period of fasting, praying and almsgiving. In layman’s speak, it’s the 40 (or 46, depending on how you count) days when Christians are supposed to give up something they love for the weeks leading up to Easter. I usually give up chocolate and cursing … By day #3, I fail. But not this year. This year, I’m doing things differently. This year, I’m going to eat as much chocolate as I can and curse all I want because instead of abstaining from these physical vices, I’m going to focus on the intangible. This year for Lent, I am giving up my negative attitude. For the next 46 days, I will be Positive Lauren.
I’ve given this a lot of thought (after all, Lent is a time of reflection). I know I should probably eat fewer dark chocolate covered almonds and swear less, but truth be told, I really don’t want to and my disapproving disposition is a much bigger sin. Simply put, I complain too much. I can be pretty negative at times … and by at times I mean often … and by often I mean usually. It’s not that I’m unhappy or ungrateful, just mostly overwhelmed — which is kind of ridiculous, considering I have it pretty easy compared to others. But I do tend to err on the side of pessimism instead of optimism, and that needs to change. So from now until Easter, I am focusing on the positive. I’ll be keeping my glass half-full, looking on the bright side, finding the silver lining, blah, blah, blah … Oops, that was probably a little negative. Oh well, it’s a work in progress.
I wish I could say that I’ll stop complaining overnight. Go cold turkey and all that. But I’m a realist, so my plan is to reduce the bitching little by little and temper my criticisms with the phrase at least. For every gripe I bemoan during Lent, I will pause and add “at least (insert something positive here).” My grandmother used to call this “offering it up.” It’s a way to remember that things could always be worse. A way to see the bright side. For example, Wednesday morning when the superintendent robo-called at 4:57 AM to announce a two-hour school delay, my response was, “Sh*t, now I have to miss boot camp!” But then I remembered my Lenten promise and quickly added, “At least we all get to sleep in a bit longer.” See? Silver lining … Although truth be told, I was still a little bitter about missing class that day.
Hopefully, over the next 40-someodd days, I’ll be able to squelch the surly thoughts before they leap from my lips and the phrase at least won’t be necessary. Hopefully, feasting on positivity and fasting on negativity for a few weeks will become a habit. At least I’ll try …