I Ask: Are You Doing Anything For Lent Or The Nonreligious Version: 40 Days Of Complaining About Tenl*? (*Lent Backward)

We might not all be Christians (yet! haha. {sigh}), but I think that Lent has a universal appeal. The lapsed Catholics, the bored Jews and the even the atheist has a place in their heart for Lent.

Is it because we are all so self-sacrificing? Because we are so motivated to better ourselves?

It’s mostly because we love to complain.

Find me the person who doesn’t like mentioning how tired, bored, hungry, coffee-deprived or overworked they are, and I’ll find you a person who gave up complaining for Lent.

Now, I’m not even sure about my Christian status although I’m still RAH RAH God.

And I’m always looking to complain. I mean grow. But I don’t swear or smoke or do much of anything that needs Lent-ing. I’m boringly awesome. Okay, fine, I could give up candy.  But then I’d have to kill someone and that seems REALLY unchristian.

So I’m turning to the people who like to flip Lent backwards and celebrate Tenl by ADDING SOMETHING to their lives for 40 days. For example, instead of giving up Twitter, I could ADD daily exercise. (Don’t even THINK of suggesting that sentence to me. I’m not a martyr, people.)

So I’m planning to add 20 minutes of silent meditation a day for my Tenl. And by 20 minutes, I mean 2 minutes. Because I hate failing.

But lately, on this very blog, I’ve been accused of thinking too much, of being stressed and of being awesome. I think meditation will improve all three. IN MY MIND. (duh)

I look forward to hating every minute of it and forgetting to do it most days of the week. Also, to eating fish on Fridays. Because then I can mediated on the squishiness of life.

So I ask: Are you doing anything for Lent or the nonreligious Late Enough version: 40 days of complaining about Tenl? And {deep breath} do you have any better suggestions for me*? (*Scott you are not allowed to comment.)

photo source

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

23 thoughts to “I Ask: Are You Doing Anything For Lent Or The Nonreligious Version: 40 Days Of Complaining About Tenl*? (*Lent Backward)”

  1. I gave up makeup for Lent. Sounds ridiculous, I am aware. But I actually really love makeup. Here’s how it went down Monday Morning:
    me to husband: “I gave up makeup for Lent.”
    husband to me: “Geez, do you have to punish everyone?”
    So there it is. Consider that my first complaint.

  2. I have two ideas, which since I haven’t chosen I guess I’m a tad behind. Whatever.
    I read about someone who cleans house – 40 bags donated in 40 days. I’d like to get rid of stuff, but you know it can’t all be mine, so if I did this one I think my kids would hate me and my husband might leave.

    Another friend is planning to give food to the food bank every day this lent. I don’t see a downside there. Except that if I gave them money instead they could buy more food.

  3. Am I missing something? Lent spelled backward is Tnel not Tenl.

    Either way, I’m an atheist and I am posting today about giving up bread for lent! Great minds think alike. I have a couple of Catholic friends who say this entitles me to an honory rosary which is awesome because I always liked them but had no reason to have one. Wahoo!

  4. diet dr pepper – gone. Been two days without one.

    giving up distraction. I watch too much sports. I am giving up on college basketball. No March Madness for me. Hockey and baseball is enough.

  5. I’d already decided to try adding daily exercise for Lent but now I’m going to tell ppl its for Tenl just to watch the confusion.

  6. You’re awesome – don’t change at all!

    Except maybe to buy pompoms.

    Because, really? You don’t own your own pompoms?

    Who are you anymore?

    And interesting fact? I’m Catholic and I’m not giving anything up for Lent (though we totally support doing something instead of giving something up, no need for weird spellings!) and my best friend is Atheist and she’s giving up all animal products for Lent (normally a vegetarian) so yeah, we’re strange.

  7. My best friend is Catholic, and I’m endlessly fascinated by 1) her creativity in coming up for things to give up for Lent and 2) her unwavering ability in maintaining her willpower up until the very end. A few years ago, we went to an out-of-town wedding together, which happened to occur right in the middle of Lent. My friend had given up beer, ice cream, and cursing. When faced with an open bar, she contemplated, weighed her options, and decided that if she drank whiskey all night, she *technically* wouldn’t be breaking the rules. And despite the copious amounts of whiskey consumed, she still managed to use “farfegnugen,” “fluff,” and “freakin’ A” in place of our other favorite F-word well into the night.

  8. Apparently we gave up butter. Because it’s not in the butter dish, the fridge, or even backups in the freezer… none.

    My toast is lonely. But maybe my thighs will get smaller? Hmmm…

  9. I am adding 10 minutes of prayer/day (or alternately, giving up 10 minutes of not-praying each day…) Which, right now, is focused on Japan. Oof.

    I am also giving up “giving in” to negative thoughts. When I find that I am going down the slippery slope of focusing on whatever lies the enemy is selling me that day – I am choosing to put my foot down, and not let it take over my thought life.

    I considered giving up coffee – but I didn’t feel like “adding” murderous rage for 40 days… 🙂

  10. I suppose I probably should take this opportunity to fold the laundry in addition to just washing it. Which would then give me something to complain about…

  11. I totally dig the Tnel idea, and will now spend the day pondering it and coming up with something spiritual and great to add to my life for 40 days (ooh! Or I could give up pondering things for more than 5 minutes for Lent and call it a day? Yeah. That sounds more like me.)

    Anyway, thought I’d share this Lenten (is that a word?) idea with you all that came up on a blog-feed this morning (I like a guy who thinks inside the beer mug): http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/man-gives-up-all-food-but-beer-and-water-for-lent

    Just sayin.

  12. I always just let someone else choose for me. Like last year, I gave up my gall bladder (Thanks, God.) and this year I’m giving up sleep (Thanks, New Puppy.) I shudder to think what might happen if I was more intentional.

  13. Ok, first? I think your hair is all kinds of sexy in that picture. Also, I read a book on meditation-for-dummies in December with the intention of starting a meditation practice. I have not meditated once. 😐

  14. I love lent because I give up the same thing every year – sleeping with Catholics..which basically means my husband..which pisses him off every year. win/win really.

  15. I decided, for my Catholic girlfriend, to give up my atheism for Lent. This meant acting Catholic (Mass, praying, reading the Bible, thinking only positive thoughts and eliminating all the negatives about Catholicism), defending the faith, etc.

    As a lifelong atheist I’m amazed at the affect it’s had on me. I love it so much that I now want to convert.

    I NEVER thought this possible, ever! In fact, my girlfriend is now my fiancee and we’re both looking forward to a Church wedding, a sacramental one. Go figure………………..

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