Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make a person bitter

Last week Jenny and I were talking about Lent.

She thought it was a Catholic thing, which is what I'd thought until last year. But she didn't believe me. So she looked it up.

This led to a discussion on how neither of us have ever done Lent, and then one of our Quadmates, who is from Argentina, asked what Lent was, which then led to Jenny, the Quad Lent expert (by virtue of having the Wikipedia page open), giving him an explanation of the Lent business.

He was intrigued about what you give up - like, what if it's something you want to give up anyway, or should it be something that feels like a hardship, etc.

So Jenny said that she had this friend who gave up something difficult for Lent every year, and then sometimes wound up giving it up for good.

Like, last year ago she gave up soda, which she drank all the time and loved. And after giving it up for Lent, she just stopped drinking it entirely. She didn't miss it at all.

"She said it's something biological," Jenny explained, "and if you stop doing something for 40 days, you kind of stop missing it, and then it's not that hard to give it up for good."

To which I had to say, "Turns out that is absolutely true. To the great chagrin of my husband."


  1. So... you gave up tidying? :o)

    One wonders what the *actual* threshhold is. Does it have to be 40 full days, or is that just to be on the safe side?

    Because 40 days without certain things just doesn't seem manageable - but I think I could make it, say, 3 weeks without saying something snarky, for example.

  2. Hahaha!

    I'm Brazilian, Catholic, did first communion, confirmation and all that jazz. I had never heard of Lent until I moved to the US. Over there, we only observe Good Friday. Not eating meat one Friday of the year? Sure, no prob.


  4. Dagny - Exactly! And shockingly, I don't miss it one bit!

    I wonder what the threshold is as well. I think it's a few (or six? or maybe I'm making this up entirely?) weeks to make/break a habit, isn't it?

    Beach Bum - Yes! He's Argentine - from a definitely Catholic country - and had never heard of it at all.

    notsojenny - Yah. Turns out it's funnier if you're on the outside.:)

  5. I wonder how many people break-up at the start of Lent and are over it by the end? Wow - I'm in a cynical place today I suppose. I love how the person with the wikipage open is the expert :)

  6. ha!
    i think it's like, three weeks to break or learn a new habit or something? i don't know for sure...

  7. Ha! Didn't see that coming. (TWSS! or, in this case TWHS!)

  8. I totally believe that 40 days can be enough to make you quit something. I read somewhere that if you want to get someone to leave you alone, if you ignore them for six weeks, that will be enough to stop them completely (probably not applicable for a true crazytown stalker). Sorry to hear that it's true for you ;)

  9. HKW - I saw a Post Secret secret that said they had been given up for Lent, which made me sad. And you are rarely cynical!

    brookem - I don't know either. Somewhere between three weeks and a very long time, anyway.

    lacochran - I don't know what those mean! Must look them up! (Because I am old and uncool.)

    mysterygirl! - You know, I could see that happening, except, as you said, with a serious stalker. Six weeks with no contact whatsoever is a long time.

  10. It's not necessarily to give something up but to better yourself. I often give up chocolate and by the end I have no desire for it but then by the time Lent comes around again it's hard to give it up.

    I wrote about Lent a few years ago. rereading it reminds me what Lent is about e.g. "I am also reminded of last year’s homily where the priest said, 'We all give up candy and that’s easy but who can go home after a bad day at work and be Joyful?'"

    That's the part that I ;ike about Lent. Challenging you to be a better person.

  11. Lent, coming from a catholic upbringing, well my parents tried but lets face it they weretn really enamoured of their religon either.
    For lent I am giving up sex simply because I am single again so theres no chance I am going to be getting it any time soon lol *sigh*.... I'd like to give up chocolate but I would probably kill someone halfway through so its not worth doing time for hehehe



    (Sorry Nick.)

  13. aw man. double snap to the husband.

  14. Red - I think for those of us who weren't brought up in any kind of religiously observant environment, that aspect was never stressed. Although that is the best way to approach it.

    Go-Betty - I am so sorry about your breakup. Definitely don't give up the chocolate right now. Nonononono.

    LiLu - I know.

    Masala Chica - Poor man.


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