Inspired by Good Housekeeping, I created a list of eight things I could give up for lent this year.
Then, inspired by March Madness (or whatever) I put them in a single elimination bracket.
(Note that this starts with the ashes today at 11:30...)
Before we start let me just say that there were two competing forces as I looked at this list: Those things that would be a sacrifice vs. those things that would make me a better person. This has been an annual internal debate with me. One year I read that you could give up sleeping on your mattress. Total sacrifice but probably not a better person. (It didn't make the cut). One year I gave up sarcasm - in hopes that it would make me a better person. Yeah THAT was a BRILLIANT idea...
Sarcasm didn't even make the final eight this year.
Enough set up. Here we go:
Bad Posture vs. 1/2 Hour Sleep:
This was where I had to remember "It's not a contest to see which one would hurt the least". I'm already working on posture with yoga. This was (unfortunately) a no-brainer.
Winner: 1/2 hour sleep.
Alcohol vs. Swear Words:
This was easily the toughest game in the bracket. Because there are some times when I love a cold **** beer.
Here's what I didn't want to have happen: "Oh, no I can't have that glass of wine because (LOOK AT ME) I gave up alcohol for lent." I don't want to be that guy. Also, I don't want my father in law to get ahead of me on the wine.
Finally, we take Sundays off for lent. A few years ago I gave up Diet Mountain Dew. I found myself putting down roughly a two liter on Sundays. Applying that logic to alcohol would cause some Monday morning issues.
Winner: Swear Words
Donate three things every day vs. No sugar after 8pm:
Donate three things sounded more difficult. I just gave up a bunch of Mini Wheats to the Food Pantry, and we went through our clothes recently.
Of course I'm writing this before 8pm. The degree of difficulty might change later.
Winner: Donate three things every day.
Videogames vs. Diet Soda:
I don't play that many video games. And I do like a diet soda.
Of course I had to check my phone after this. And the videogames are up to an hour per day. They gotta go. At least in this round.
1/2 Hour Sleep vs. Swear words:
I already get up early. If I go a half hour earlier I will be grumpy. And I'll probably swear more.
Winner: Swear words:
Videogames vs. Donate Three Things Every Day:
"So what good did you do while you were on earth Phil? Were you charitable?"
"Well... I gave up Hasbro Battleship for lent one year!"
Winner: Donate Three Things Every Day.
Lots of thought went into this one. Lots. Of. Thought. And when I was thinking about it I saw something out of the corner of my eye and said "What the hell?"
We have a winner.
This gets to the heart of what I discussed at the start of the post: Becoming a better person vs. making a sacrifice.
Is giving up swearing a sacrifice?
I'm not going down that ****ing rabbit hole.
Is giving up swearing going to make me a better person? I think so. If not a better person it will at least broaden my vocabulary. (If you want to learn a new pitch you can't just keep throwing the fastball)
Of course this is easier said that done. I mean - if I give up alcohol it's pretty unlikely that I accidentally make a martini and down it before I realize what I was doing. But there's a really good average chance hat, on any given day, I could drop an f-bomb. (Ask me how I know).
What to do: Well, it's simple actually.
EVERY TIME I SWEAR I'M PUTTING SOMETHING IN THE DONATE JAR.
If it starts costing me more Mini Wheats or a pair of jeans or whatever - that will change my behavior, for the better.
And there's a decent chance, depending on how the day is going, that I could donate more than three things in a given day.
Who am I kidding? I might need a U-Haul by the end of lent.