I’m on a vacation in the middle of Lent and I’m loving every moment of it. Well, sort of. I’m on day four of all the food, drinks and experiences I can take in. Yesterday morning I realized I’d temporarily veered toward the idea that consuming more will make me happier. What has actually made me the most happy? Uninterrupted quality time with Dusty, the hours-long nap on the cozy bed right after arriving and checking in, discovering a great new podcast (Tim Sinclair’s alsohumans) and a hilarious comedy series (Crashing), and writing. So in realignment with my values I began the day with a balanced breakfast, a workout, and an excellent massage. I wrote two thousand words on the beach, ate oysters, and listened to live music, and then bowled and played space invaders until midnight. It was a good day.
Gretchen Rubin, expert on happiness and author of several books on the topic, recently challenged her podcast listeners to try giving up something for a month. She drew a distinction between “moderators” and “abstainers.” There are those who do better to abstain entirely from selective behaviors, and others who do well to seek moderation. Different strategies work for different people.
I revisited my own resolutions taken up during Lent. This year, I did not choose to abstain from some behavioral vice altogether, but rather from negative thought patterns (e.g., that I’m in some way too much or not good enough, that I need the approval of certain people, etc.). When I’m grounded in healthier thoughts, I notice that I am living out my life as a more balanced moderator.
Did you give up something for Lent? If so, how are you doing with it? Do you do better abstaining altogether or seeking moderation? Be honest with yourself about what works for you and don’t worry about the resolutions going on around you. And regardless of how Lent or any resolution has gone for you so far, start today with what works, or experiment with something that works better for you.