Feb 202012
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

During the months of March and April, there’s really no better excuse than, “I can’t, I’m giving that up for Lent.”

Did that guy in class, you know, the one who always prefaces his comments with “Well ACTUALLY, in my opinion…” ask you out for coffee?

In the next couple months you can respond, “Oh I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m giving up coffee for Lent.” And then, if he suggests grabbing a beer instead, you say, “Aah, alcohol too. Lent. Giving it up. Sorry…” Really, the more potentially morally-deviant the date proposition, the better excuse Lent becomes.

Oh, that’s not the purpose of Lent, you say? One shouldn’t use it to blatantly lie? It’s a time for potential personal sacrifice and growth, rooted in Christian tradition? I had no idea… (Just kidding, Mom. Of course I did).

As a little kid, when my Mom asked me after Ash Wednesday mass what I planned on giving up for Lent, I’d say something along the lines of, “Mayonnaise, other gross things, being nice to my brother and not having fun.” I really thought I knew how to work the system back then.

But since it’s Fat Tuesday, and after consuming what amounted to at least two large pizzas this past weekend, I’ve started thinking about some things that all of us –– religious or not –– could benefit from giving up this Lenten season.

Give up ‘Facebooking’ more than you’re ‘homeworking’

I know we’ve all done this.

You sit down on your laptop to work on a research paper about early exploration of the Americas, and alongside your other browser’s tabs sits that famous blue “f” –– or the blue mistress, as I call it.

Is that Wikipedia entry on “Ponce de Leon” not stimulating enough for you? Well I bet the Facebook profile of that cutie in your history class, Jeff de Leon, is. You click on the Facebook tab and proceed to spend 30 minutes browsing all 542 tagged photos of Jeff, as well as the photos of his ex-boyfriend, Jose. Shoot. A half an hour wasted, for multiple reasons…

This Lent, do yourself and your sanity a favor and don’t open up Facebook while doing homework. While I know for many it may feel like cutting off a limb, eventually, you’ll wish you’d given it up long, long ago.

Give up stress-eating like you’re storing up for the Apocalypse

Even though it is 2012, and the world as we know it is obviously set to end on Dec. 21, we have a while until we need to start storing up that survival layer of fat.

So you just got a “D” on an exam you were sure you aced? Instead of following your gut reaction of buying 15 cookies at Subway (because they’re just so cheap!) and eating them alone in your car, channel that disappointment and begin studying for your next exam instead.

Sure, Subway may go out of business, but our grades will rise, and our saturated fat and sugar intake will no longer verge on “pre-diabetic.”

Give up waiting until tomorrow

I know I’m about 60 years too young to give out “life is short, enjoy it while you can” platitudes, but I certainly know how often I say, “Oh, I can do that later.”

And beyond how often we do it for school work, I know many of us often say, “I’ll finally tell him/her how I feel tomorrow,” or “I’ll call (insert old friend) later.”

But then we get caught in the whirlwind of our daily routine, and “later” never arrives.

So maybe this season of Lent, instead of joking about what we have to give up, we can focus on all that we have to gain.

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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