Okay, so the title of this blog post is a little misleading. Maybe even a lot misleading. Okay, it’s a total lie. I didn’t exactly keep all my Lenten promises for the full 46 days, or even for the more traditional 40 days. I know, I know, I’m a bad Catholic … But some good did come of it, I swear.
If you recall, I gave up social media and pretty much all food for Lent. A lofty goal, but I was determined to suffer and atone like all good Catholics do during the holiest time of the year. Besides, if Jesus could pray and fast in a desert for 40 days and then make the ultimate sacrifice, surely I could give up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while following a Whole 30 diet for 46 days, right? Apparently not. I was pretty good with the food part, as long as you don’t count that one time I accidentally ate something “non-Whole 30-compliant” because I didn’t read the label closely enough, or that other time when I deliberately ate a spoonful of cookie dough while my son and his girlfriend were baking cookies together (I paid for that one within minutes, trust me!). But my social media fast proved much harder than my food fast. A few times (and by few I mean 7 or 8 times), I cheated and went on Facebook … But only for 10 minutes and I didn’t comment on anyone’s status, like any posts or wish anyone a happy birthday, I swear! I also felt guilty about it, so that should count for something, right?
I may have been less than successful in keeping my Lenten promises, but I did learn a few things. Notably,
- I’m not very nice when I’m inconvenienced, hungry and information-deprived for 46 days. (My apologies to all those I encountered over the past month and a half.)
- Following a strict Whole 30 protocol is hard, but having food allergies/sensitivities makes clean eating a little easier. (Perhaps my autoimmune disease is a blessing in disguise?!?)
- Sugar is the devil, as proven by the cookie dough incident. (Lesson learned — the hard way, of course.)
- Social media is a huge time suck and I’m more productive without it — on most days, anyway. (I still found ways to procrastinate.)
- I didn’t really miss much without Facebook and Instagram. (Sure, I forgot a few birthdays, skipped a couple of product launch parties and didn’t see those new selfies, food photos or family vacation pictures that people posted, but I survived.)
- Lofty Lenten promises are hard to keep, even if you’re not in the desert. (And especially if you don’t really want to keep them.)
Clearly, I am not the good Catholic I set out to be. If human salvation rested on my shoulders, we’d all be damned. But I tried, and I will keep trying because it’s not about giving up food or Facebook; It’s about being accountable, learning from mistakes and making improvements. Knowledge is power, so I consider my Lenten experience a (minor) success … Even if that is a bit of a reach.