Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Fastnacht.
…or as it was always called in our house, Pancake Day. Based on that, you can tell that we weren’t a very religious clan so this day’s only significance was my British-born mother’s insistence that her family observe the long-standing tradition of eating breakfast for dinner. According to Wikipedia, it’s a Newfoundland tradition for children to treasure tokens cooked inside their pancakes, but I can verify that coins were often found on the west coast as well.
To others, Fat/Shrove/Pancake Tuesday symbolizes a last hurrah before Lent – forty days of abstention and self-denial. (The pancakes entered the picture as an efficient way of using stores of rich foods such as eggs and dairy before the six weeks without.) As kids, my mom would ask what we were giving up for Lent, but we had no idea what she was talking about so the answers were quickly forgotten and had no meaning in the first place.
I’m a pleasure delayer, I practice self-denial all the time and by choice. It’s probably what makes me a firm believer that a little sacrifice never did anyone any harm.
Last year, I sacrificed up social media. When my mom first asked what I was giving up for Lent, she and Kevin both had a good laugh when that was my tentative, of the top of my head response. Their amusement became my stern resolve. The fact that they didn’t think I could (my mom may have even offered a snide, “good luck”) was the final nail in the six-week coffin for Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare, etc. I stuck to it and it actually changed my habits as a user quite significantly. My notifications are vastly different and, in fact, some never did get turned back on. It reorganized my priorities and where social media fell within the list and it impacted my approach to my online voice as well.
Fast forward a year and, though I’d thought of a repeat, social media is now paying the bills so abandonment isn’t really an option. When I realized on the weekend that Lent was staring me in the face, I had to come up with something new. It took but a split second before SUGAR popped into my head. (Truth be told, sleep is actually my number one priority at the moment, but giving it up is the opposite of my intention and there is really no other way to spin it appropriately.) As I told a friend the other day, “I’m pretty uncomfortable with how hooked on sugar I truly am.” Cakes and pies, I can take them or leave them; chocolate I could quite frankly live without, but give me some pure stuff – a Wonka brand rock – and I’m out of control. Just ask the two mega boxes of SweetTarts we imported from the states on Saturday…if you can find the empty cardboard in the recycling, that is.
Do even the slightest bit of reading or research into sugar and you’ll see that we are largely a hooked society. It is so bad for us, but we just can’t give it up! I even suspect that in the days when I first go without sugar, I get a headache like that of someone kicking caffeine – and I don’t even eat a lot of the stuff! I abstained for about a week in the summer when we traveled to Alberta to work on the Presidents’ Cup and I felt awesome, but as soon as one touch of the stuff hit my lips, I was completely out of control. Besides that, sugar is in everything so this is no soft challenge I’m signing on for. I’d ask you to wish me luck, but I somehow think Kevin is going to need it more!