For those that observe Lent, it will officially have kicked off this Ash Wednesday (February 26th) and will last until April 9th. I was raised in the Catholic Church (shout out to St. Vincent Ferrer in River Forest, IL and Ascension in Oak Park, IL) and this time of year I’ve made up my mind on what to give up for Lent, pessimism.
By definition, pessimism means, “a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future.” If you know me at all, I strive to be the constant optimist. If anything, pessimism is something that I lack already.
My intent for this Lenten season is to not allow any pessimistic thoughts to takeover during the next 40 days. My plan is to detox myself a little bit from social media drama. Like the majority of us, my phone is tethered to my hand and I’m often lured into social media squabbles that always end in the aforementioned “P-Word.” So, I’ll abstain from Muscatine Community Chat, save for only sharing actual good news that’s going on in Muscatine. Now granted, the majority of the posts in that group are comprised of missing dogs and complaints about local businesses; I just refuse to allow it to consume any of my time (and yes, I get the irony of writing that in this space).
I would much rather see my world with “rose colored glasses” as opposed to the pessimism perspective. I’ll also continue giving people the benefit of the doubt and to see the best in everyone. That mindset will only help in my detox of pessimism and to reaffirm my desire to be the constant optimist. An example would be that at this very moment, my sixteen-month-old-daughter, Lucy, is refusing to sleep. It’s 9:13 pm at the time of this writing, yet I’m optimistic that she will eventually sleep throughout the course of the evening (at least one time).
Are you planning on giving anything up for the next 40 days? Regardless of your religion, I think the concept of going without something for a period of time is a perfectly healthy practice. Perhaps you’ll stop drinking pop or alcohol or will work to avoid saying your favorite four-letter word. Some will pump their brakes on sweets or fast food. Maybe your sights are set on something more ambitious, like volunteering more during the stretch or saving money to donate to a local organization (my kids’ future college fund would be a good one).
Initially, I had thought of setting my sights on something diet related, but I’m feeling really good in the progress I’ve made since restarting my diet. Plus, pessimism is a challenging thing to avoid, and I’m up for making it happen. Send me an email with your thoughts on Lent and if you’re going without something at [email protected] and good luck with the next few weeks!