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Ready For Lent

February 24, 2014 - Carrie Olson
The idea of giving up something for the Lenten season always is an exciting and nerve-wracking adventure. I enjoy challenging myself as long as there is an end date in sight. A lot of times I am unable to completely give up my impulses, but sometimes I will surprise myself. Last year, I gave up a couple things. One was soda. I used to give this (or chocolate) up every year when I was a kid but basically cheated every time. Well, I have been on a coke-a-day diet for the past few years, and decided it was time to give it up. Now, while I still have one or two a week, it's definitely not to the extent I previously consumed it.

In 2013, I also gave up something a bit harder than soda. Letting myself live in a depression cloud. Since moving to NYC, I had tried over and over to land a full-time job. Something besides bartending and babysitting as my savings account dwindled to its last few dollars. After fruitless attempts at applying at temp agencies and throwing my carefully crafted resume around, I decided to wallow. Shut the blinds, watch Netflix on my computer, and get out of bed once or twice a day to pretend to straighten up the apartment. I basically lived in a cave-like existence and pulling myself out of it was not easy. I worked my way through Lent by exercising every day in the cold air, applying for a certain number of jobs a day, and asking and receiving more babysitting hours. It wasn't long before I was called into a couple businesses for interviews, and I finally had a place of employment.

This year, I'm again giving myself a couple challenges. One, is Facebook. While I have to be on it for my job, I plan on cutting it out for my own personal use for quite awhile. And two, reorganizing my spending. Although, I'm working 40 hours a week, living here is well … tough. It's a spend, spend, spend culture, and there are a lot of things to do. It was easy to save money back in the Midwest when going out to eat was a once a week routine. Here - ha, everyone eats out for lunch (which will easily set you back 10 bucks in my work neighborhood, no McDonald's in sight). Dinner/Happy Hour/Brunch, it's what everyone does here. And the options - Thai, BBQ, Jamaican - seriously, it's endless. If we ever move out of the NYC area, we still won't be capable of putting a dent in the restaurant map. And clothes. At least in the winter, girls are covered up head to toe in their boots and coat ensembles, but when the balmy months roll around, I'm in heaven looking at all the different style options out there. Of course, that means nothing in my closet is good enough to wear. So when the tight budget that I am supposed to follow goes out the window somewhere in the middle of the month, I kind of freak out. So Lent is going to be my main reason for curbing the spending.

Looking into next week, it's not going to be easy. I know that now, but I view giving up a couple vices a great task and worthy to continue throughout the year to come.


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