I am aware that there is a pancake day every year. There is a day for literally everything, it seems; World Happiness Day, World World Day, World this and that day. So I just thought hey, here is a day to celebrate pancakes, and why not? I would never have assumed the day had a religious significance.
Yesterday I got a notification that Today was Pancake Day, and I happily mentioned it to my colleagues who then remarked that they couldn’t believe it was almost Lent. My first thought was huh? what does Lent have to do with this? Thankfully I have learnt to google first, ask dumb questions later, so I googled it and turns out pancake day is actually Shrove Tuesday, which preceeds Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of Lent which is the 40 days culminating in Easter. I learn something everyday.
Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day which comes from the old English custom of using up all the fattening ingredients before Lent, so that people were ready to fast. The fattening ingredients that most people had in their houses were eggs and milk, hence why people began combining them with flour to make pancakes.
In case you were wondering what Lent is:
Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
In summary, Lent is a period of self reflection in which Christians abstain from certain foods and activities. Shrove Tuesday is the day before in which people historically indulged in the things they will be fasting from, more or less. Read more here.
It was also even more poignant to me because for the first time ever, I was actually looking forward to Lent this year. Lent is religiously significant as it is the period of 40 days before Easter, but for a lot of people it is also a period of abstinence from one thing or the other. Like everyone else, I made some New Year’s resolutions and 2020 was going to be my year! Then I promptly resumed my routine of watching Netflix and Youtube until my eyes bleed.
Sometime ago, I read somewhere that it takes about 40 days to form a new habit/drop a bad habit and I feel Lent could be a perfect period for me to try this out. There will be other people observing lent, and it is a relatively short period of time with an end. When the going gets tough I can just count the days till the end.
Now that I have decided to change my life for Lent, I have to decide what exactly to give up. The most obvious thing will be to drastically reduce my screen-time, and I mean drastically. Ever since I got my Samsung phone with the wide screen, my brain has gone to mush. I stare at my screen for hours; from when I wake up to all day at work, on the way to and back from work, when making dinner, while eating, while doing my nighttime routine, in bed waiting to sleep, and first thing when I wake up. My phone makes it worse because now I can easily access YouTube and Netflix, and Amazon video, twitter, instagram without even getting out of bed, where in the past I would have needed to turn on my laptop which was less convenient. Sometimes I find myself just staring at my phone, clicking on random videos on YT, clicking the same random posts on instagram, reading random news headlines on google, just mundane uninspiring stuff. I truly believe that I could be leading a much more productive life if I just stayed off my phone more. I have at least ten books that I have not read, so many things I want to write, plans to make, places to go (okay that last one is a lie). I wake up on the weekends, full of optimism for the productive day to come, but oh let me just check my phone for a minute and before I know it the clock strikes midnight and it’s time to go back to sleep. There are literally days when I pause and look at myself and sigh at what has become of me; my laptop is open to Amazon video, Netflix on the TV, youtube/instagram on my phone, news app on my work phone. What the forkkkkkk? How is my brain not fried? Spoiler: it is.
So yes, it would be nice to reduce my screen time, but how? I already put the timer warning on youtube but I just ignore it whenever it comes up. I was going to leave Instagram for the whole period but where will I post all my pictures of trees and sunsets? For sure I want to stop wasting my time on mindless gossip sites that do nothing but drain me of my will and soul.
I don’t just want to give up something however, I also want to form a new habit. With all the free time I get, I want to read more. I used to be a big reader (in my mind I still am), and I cannot stop myself from buying new books. But ever since ze internet took over my life, I have not read as much. I have only read one book this year (I started two others but they were so meh). It would be nice to read some of the many books I have,
I also want to write more, both on here and offline. The truth is that all I want to do is write. All day at work I fantasise about coming home to write. Then the moment I get home I am immediately glued to the screen.
I was also thinking of giving up junk food- this may require its own post. Long story short, I realised that I was maybe filling up the loneliness with food. Everyday on my way back from work I stop by the stores to get some junk for the evening. In my mind, I need something to eat after dinner. This may or may not be the cause of my skin problems but I really do not need to be eating nonsense everyday.
Now of course the whole purpose of Lent is to become closer to God and work on oneself. I am hoping that these new habits will help me in this regard, and I am looking forward to this. I don’t want to get all excited and make resolutions I cannot keep, and then feel bad when I inevitably break them. I have therefore tried to make it easy-ish for myself.
So in summary, for Lent 2020 (February 26th to April 9th) I am going to:
–Reduce my screen-time: I aim to achieve this by reading a book instead, and avoiding mindless gossip.
–Read more: I aim to read three books in this forty days. Back in the day I would have considered this to be rookie numbers.
–Plan my meals and replace junk with fruits. I must understand that dinner is enough; there is no need to always have a snack. It’s also okay to say no thank you when offered a snack; it really is okay sweetie.
–Write for an hour everyday-Whew my restlessness is going to make this one hard!
–Talk to someone (family/friends) at least twice a week-I snuck this one in at the very last minute. I was going to write everyday but I chickened out. I do need to talk to people-other than myself. It cannot be healthy to go a whole week without any meaningful conversation.
So help me God.
Oh and yes I did have pancakes for dinner.