Finally, the Easter season is upon us which also means the end of Lent. The end of no meat on Fridays, the end of fasting from soda (yes, that was my Lenten fast), and the end of solemn and reverent song selections for Mass. Welcome Easter celebrations and singing Alleluia at the top of our lungs.
This Lenten season came and went in the blink of an eye. But that’s to be expected as time continues to zoom past us while we continue to juggle the many responsibilities of life. And although I’d like to say that this Lenten journey has helped me transform tremendously into a better person, the truth is, I felt as if I stayed more or less the same.
Now before you grab your pitchforks or worse, crucify me on a cross, I will say that despite this feeling, looking back at these past 40 days, there were moments of realization and clarity.
Making healthy choices
This is closely tied to how I started working out at the beginning of the year. Although I don’t work out everyday like I used to, I’ve still maintained a very consistent exercise regime and have since seen improvement in endurance, strength, and an increase in body positivity.
While taking soda out of my diet contributes to the physical aspects of my life, this Lenten season I’ve reflected a lot on the internal aspects of my life too. This includes taking special care towards my mental health and ensuring that I have the appropriate mental and emotional energy to tackle each day.
Although these things cannot be seen or necessarily quantified by weight and numbers, mental and emotional health are just as important, if not more, to living out our fullest and most vibrant life. This Lenten season I was reminded of this fact.
Importance of rewarding yourself
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
When I was in high school, my girlfriend at the time introduced me to this quote and it has stuck with me ever since. It may sound cheesy and cliche, but at the end of the day it’s true. Everyone is fighting their own battles while trying to figure out how best to live life.
Because of the hardships we face and the obstacles we need to overcome, when we have a victory of any kind we should look to reward ourselves. Even athletes and bodybuilders have cheat days where they indulge themselves with various sweets, desserts, and snacks before going back to their rigorous work out regime.
We can apply this same practice to our lives outside of physical fitness.
Everything from math problems, to creating a workout routine, and more famously, driving, needs to be done over and over again in order to fully grasp their concepts. Very rarely can we do something in one go.
This is where consistency is important. In order to get used to doing something, we need to continuously do it over and over again. By doing this, habits are formed and these things become routine.
Creating good habits does not come easy, however. It takes resilience and willpower in order to keep pushing forward and not take any easy ways out. But given enough time, the things we set out to learn and do become second nature.
Everything is a choice
Coming from a religious background, I’ve always heard the words “Leave it up to God” or “God has a plan”. And I’ve always believed this; that He does have some plan out there for my life. Despite this, I also firmly believe in the idea of personal choice.
Even if God does have a plan, it won’t happen unless we choose it for ourselves. Many situations do not magically fall into our laps and even if they do, we still need to work for it. The work might be terribly difficult and may not provide us the recognition we deserve, but it will be worth it.
From choosing to fast from soda, to choosing to work out, even choosing to roll out of bed for the day, every choice we make has the possibility of leading us to something greater. God has a plan, sure, but we need to make the choice to meet him halfway and do things to the best of our ability.
With the end of Lent and the start of the Easter season, I did celebrate and have myself an entire can of soda. Did I enjoy it? I did and I didn’t. I realized that I don’t need to drink a can of soda everyday. That there are more healthier options I could indulge myself in.
Moving forward, I probably won’t swear off soda completely, but instead, I’ll consider it as a treat I can have once or twice a week. I hope that these past forty days have been fruitful for you too, whether you were going through the desert of Lent or just the desert of life.