Top 100 things Twitter users gave up for Lent in 2009 - Source
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day after Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day to normal people), and the beginning of the Christian 'holiday' (?) of Lent. It's not really a holiday, but you know what I mean. Traditionally people give things up for Lent, to commune with Jesus or whatever, like facebook or chocolate or something. Now, as you might have noticed, I'm not big of these public holidays (I do tend to go on about it a lot), and I didn't have Pancakes yesterday, and I'm not giving anything up for Lent, because, sorry if this upsets anyone, not really that big on Jesus in my house either. More of a Science-y gal myself, but each to their own, I'm not judging you for having that belief.
But what I do really like is the re-marketing of Lent in recent years as a time to take up a positive practice, rather than give up a negative one. So rather than try to abstain from something you enjoy, have you considered trying to achieve 40 small acts of kindness instead?
Googling 'things to take up for lent' is a nightmare, so I wouldn't suggest that, but there is a website who will email you prompts and thoughts (yes, it's probably heavily Christian, but you can ignore those bits) - sign up at http://www.40acts.org.uk/ - or you could just use your common sense. Call a family member you don't speak to that often, or someone who is sick, write a letter, share your bag of crisps, donate time or money to a good cause, only buy fair trade chocolate, make an effort to include shy people in conversations, it could be absolutely anything really.
If Lent were more about being a better person and less about starving yourself, then I might be able to get a lot more on board with it, but as that righteous old dude Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world" so maybe I should put my money where my mouth is (figuratively, of course).
What do you think - do you actively participate in Lent? What are you planning to give up this year, and could you take something up instead, or even as well?