Last year, Pope Francis established the new Keep Lent initiative to the Roman Catholic world,1 in which, rather than giving up the usual petty habits like sweets, booze, soda, swearing, and anything similar, he wants us to dig deeper. Lent should no longer be just giving up something for 40 days and 40 nights. The season should also give us the opportunity to renew ourselves and do something that would make a different for the greater good. Giving up some things is one thing, but what would make Lent a lot more meaningful is for us to immerse ourselves in something more meaningful in exchange for the things we decide to give up.
I even read somewhere in a few articles that Lent isn’t just a Catholic/Christian practice anymore. Lent also became, in some ways, a lifestyle trend to anybody. It’s like New Year’s Resolutions in full throttle if that would be the correct way of explaining it.2 For those who aren’t familiar with Lent in general, check out Lent 101.3
Other than the usual meatless Ash Wednesday and the Fridays before Easter, there are some things that I decided to give up and things that I decided to do in place of those things.
What I’m giving up this year:
- Video games: Console (PS3/DS) and PC/MMORPG only though. I’d still play my mobile/Kindle games when I’m not at home, just in case I get bored reading some of my Kindle books. I gave up console and MMORPG games last year too.
- Manga and anime: The first “refresh” act I made starting yesterday (Ash Wednesday) – start cleaning up my closet, collect all the manga tankoubon volumes that I no longer read or even bother re-reading again, and sell them at the local Half-Priced Books. The only mangas that I still have in my possession are my Kindaichi Case Files series4 and some manga anthologies.5 I avoided all the anime that I spotted on Netflix and Amazon Video and went straight to watching British mystery/detective movies/shows instead.6
- Eating out at restaurants for lunch and/or dinner: My Instagram would be a little more quiet at this period when it comes to food pics. It’s time for me to not get lazy and actually go for home cooking power. Besides, I’m running out of funds again.
- The usual sweets except dark chocolate: Health reasons, after all. Dark chocolate (unsweetened) is good for your heart.
What I’m doing in exchange:
- Tidy and declutter: ala KonMari Method.
- Focus more on my online classes: The usual online classes, web development-related.
- Join (and volunteer in) a non-profit organization and actually meeting up with them: My first meetup with the GDI7 girls is just the beginning. I also joined the Oakland chapter of GDI and signed up to volunteer as a teacher assistant on the days they start offering classes.
- Do more art (traditional and digital): The mighty pen and Adobe can be very powerful weapons for survival.
- Focus (and complete if possible) current web projects: My portfolio, Little Dancer, my brother’s and fiancee’s upcoming wedding website (and related projects).
- Write: I vowed myself to write about my progress every Lenten Fridays. That includes what I’m going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This isn’t much of being religious, but as Catholics, we have been practicing this for centuries. Today, it seems that Lent is no longer a “religion” thing, but more of a reflection and renewal thing.
Then again, I’m pretty sure everyone can survive a Friday of no meat.
- last year, Pope Francis communicated the Keep Lent initiative to the world, the younger generation to be specific, via the WhatsApp mobile app. This year, he used the Telegram app. [↩]
- Now that I think about it, there is a reason Lent season takes place in the early year, late winter season to early spring season. [↩]
- Upper Room is actually a Methodist website, but their explanation of Lent is the same. [↩]
- I’m reading and re-reading every single mystery/detective novels and short stories I can get my hands on for my upcoming novel’s research, and Kindaichi Case Files has got some of the most clever mystery/detective stories I’ve ever read. [↩]
- collections of short stories written and illustrated by the same mangaka (manga author/illustrator). [↩]
- Foyle’s War, even though it’s old, is really awesome! [↩]
- Girl Develop It [↩]