This post has been started 4 different times today, and it always starts out one way, then turns into a rambling mess that morphs into something else. I think this is finally it!
I mentioned I go to 2 different churches, 2 different denominations. Neither one really observes Lent, but I like the idea. Even if I wasn’t religious at all. I mean, really think about the things we rely on everyday, the things we use as a crutch, as something to get us through the day. Think of all the things that really take time from our days, and from the important things we have to do. I know so many people will sit here and say “No, not me, everything is very important! I don’t waste time! I don’t have a vice…ok, maybe I do, but it isn’t a big one.”
Which isn’t true. Everyone has things. We do so many things out of habit, not because we truly get any enjoyment out of them. In an instant gratification society, good enough right now is better than great later. What if people really tried to change some habits over the next 40 days? How many of our habits are joy stealers rather than actually beneficial to us?
I can think of so many examples…the guy who can’t lose weight because he’s eating the crappy convenience store pastry on his way to work. Why? Is that helping him in some way? Is it making him happier? I knew a woman who played farmville on Facebook for HOURS a day. She actually made up extra profiles for herself, so she could friend herself, so she would get ahead on Farmville. I suppose if you asked her why, she would tell you she liked it, it was fun, it was a way to decompress. Except, her attitude was the opposite. She would literally stress herself out when it came time to harvest pretend crops and she wasn’t right there at a computer to do it. She wasn’t getting any joy out of this. It was a habit, just something to do. Why?
There are so many people eating empty calories from McDonald’s because it is fast and cheap. That’s it. Not because they actually enjoy the food. I figured it out, I feed the 4 of us (plus a cat and 3 fish) for about $14/day. I could have more, all I need to do is say the word and the grocery budget will be increased, but it isn’t necessary, we eat well on that $14/day. However, the kids and I do go to McDonalds when they are restless and I have too much homework, the play place and free wi-fi can be a life saver. For us all to eat a meal, it’s about $15. And we usually leave hungry anyway. Why do we do this? Nobody is getting any enjoyment out of that food! Why not save that $15 and use it towards a nice dinner out, or buying steak for Aussie to cook up for us on the grill? I don’t know about you, but yes, I get a huge amount of enjoyment out of a bite of perfectly done steak. Biting into my Big Mac has never brought a smile to my face. For Valentine’s Day we went to a nice restaurant. It was expensive, but the atmosphere was lovely, the music was live, and the food was amazing. Why am I letting McDonalds steal my Club Soda joy? I’m throwing money away for now, rather than saving for real enjoyment later.
These are the thoughts I’ve been mulling over in my head today. I have a wedding coming up! I don’t want to be fat! But, I am continuing to be fat because my habits, that aren’t causing me any happiness are being allowed to control me. No, I don’t want to wake up and run a mile. But, I don’t really want that soda either, and I drink it anyway. Not because it is so delicious, or because it is good for me, just because it’s a habit, and when I don’t have it, I crave it. There is no immediate joy from that drink, and there certainly isn’t a long term one either!At least if I went and ran, I would gain enjoyment eventually from how I looked and from how I felt. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely LOVE when Aussie picks me up and carries me or moves me. I get joy from that. I’d like him to be able to do it for a long time, I don’t want to get too big for him to.
Another thing, I like to sleep in. I do enjoy it. But, it comes with a cost. It comes with the fact that certain portions of my day get wasted. Back to the previous paragraph, I am not going to go jog at night, and I don’t want to this summer in the middle of the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees. So, I need to actually get up and do it. Not only that, but that little bit of joy I get from sleeping in is stolen away when I have to rush to get ready for something, or when I miss out on something because I didn’t get everything else done I needed to. I lose that joy when I don’t have enough hours in my day. I lose that joy when I have to be up early for a court appointment, and freak out and sleep poorly all night because I’m watching the clock, worried I will sleep right past the time I need to be awake.
So, for Lent this year, I’m not really giving up something tangible. I am just trying to change a mindset. I don’t want to deprive myself, but I’m tired of being like a 3 yr old taking the bigger nickle rather than the smaller dime because I can’t see past right now, because I only want what looks good right now. Somehow I have convinced myself that taking the smaller dime is deprivation, and it isn’t. So, for lent I am changing some habits, and hopefully giving up some of my sleeping in. I guess you could say, for Lent, I’m attempting to give up some of my joy thieves.