It dawned on me this morning as I was getting ready to go to school, way too early for people to be awake on Saturdays with gorgeous weather unless you’re on your way to the beach, still tired since I slept on a couch (though one of the most comfortable couches ever) and deficent in soda so my caffeine levels were at an all time low, that I am happy.
Not exactly what you were thinking I was going to say after that paragraph of complaining, was it? Well, it was kind of a surprise for me too. Lent started this week, good ‘ole Lent. Usually I give up something, something important, something hard. Why try and give up liverwurst if you don’t ever eat it? That’s not really the point of learning about sacrifice, is it?
Previous years have seen me giving up cheese (by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done since I believe everything tastes better with cheese – and I tried to do it twice), fast food (when I was in high school and went away on a school trip for a week), soda (when I was in college and cheap fountain drinks followed me everywhere), and sweets (come on, does this one even need an explanation?). This year I decided to give up fast food (which I’m broadly defining as restaurants with a drive-thru or where you have to get your own fountain drinks), gluten (because I should be staying away from that anyway), and Soda (this one might just kill me – I was up to four Diet Coke cans a day, don’t ask how many fountain drinks I’d consume at resturants).
Sometimes it’s hard for me to commit to change but the greater purpose of Lent usually helps me stick to it (except for the second year of cheese, that was just a bitchy, ill-conceived mistake). The real purpose of Lent though is not to focus on what you’re giving up – it’s not all about the soda. It’s supposed to be teaching sacrifice. This year is seems to be teaching me something else – satisfaction.
I spend a lot of time focusing on what’s missing – because it’s easy, because it’s obvious, because it’s more concise for a tweet or facebook status. But that’s the wrong way of looking at things (so said the girl from True Grit last night – the disturbingly grittiness of that movie being a totally different discussion). And, cowboy wisdom, she’s right. I may not have soda, but what I have is a whole lot better.
I have people who love me and care about me. My sister-in-law saying she’ll cook and freeze me food to make sure that I’m eating right. My best friend giving me leftovers she thinks I might like and going out of her way when she cooked to make sure it’s all gluten free. My friend throwing a party who let’s me know she tried to find gluten free crackers but since she couldn’t she has a Spoon Strategy in place so that I won’t get sick. My mother who cooks for me every weekend, sometimes making the same things over and over again because it’s all I can eat. Love.
I have a job that I’m good at, that I like, that gives me opportunities to do many different things and challenge my skills. I have stability, a roof over my head and the means to pay for it, a car to get me to work, a network of people that I can call on to be my cheerleader, my coach, my bodyguard, and my tough-love trainer that tells me what I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear it. I have family and friends and passion and a thirst for learning and an irreverent sense of humor and a desire for a sarcasm font and characters in my head that say interesting things and the ability to quote episodes of How I Met Your Mother verbatim and this very long run on sentence. I have a lot.
Big changes are coming down the pipe for me. And sometimes I hate change – I react like one of those stupid blond sorority girls in horror movies, blindly going in one direction and then screaming in fear. And then running away. But I’m plucky – I always find my way from vapid sorority girl to plucky heroine. I go back, I don’t go by myself down the dark creepy stairway into the basement, and I take that weapon left lying on the ground and beat the living crap out of the villan. Okay, maybe that metaphor went a little off the rails but you get the drift.
And for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the future. Well, not the Zombie Apocalypse my friend is predicting (though if I started to go to the gym again, I might be able to outrun their dinner for awhile) but for everything else. For finishing grad school and getting my weekends back (doing an eMBA program has taken every weekend of the last ten months and I’m ready to reclaim them). For moving forward on publishing my book and writing new ones. For searching out opportunities wherever they may be and taking advantage of them. For starting my grown-up, mature, full of infinite possibilities life.
So bring on the highs, the lows, the roller-coaster, the ups, the downs, and even the zombies. This girl’s ready for it.