Monday, January 14, 2013

I Wonder What My Worst Habit Is?

For many of you sad, sad human beings who live in the northern 99% of the country, January and February are almost certainly dreary, chill, and depressing months through which you must slog before March comes in like a lion and (we hope) goes out like a lamb, bringing with it the promise of spring.


I, however – and yes I’m lording this over ya’ll, cruelly – live in a place where Jan and Feb are two of the best months of the year.  The end of Christmas heralds the beginning of Mardi Gras in both my old town and my new one, and the G Love family are happily preparing for a 6 week season of parades, crappy plastic favors, king cake, formal balls, and too much lite beer.

I bring this up only to highlight what comes next – Lent.  Although I have never been Catholic, I was borne of a Catholic mother, and my siblings and I have almost always recognized Lent as a period of time for giving up bad habits.  It is particularly appropriate now that I live down south - I overindulge during Mardi Gras, and then it all stops short when 11:59 pm Fat Tuesday clicks over to 12:00 am Ash Wednesday morn.  Mounted police clear the French Quarter streets of drunks and hookers (they all stumble right back out immediately after this symbolic end to the revels), and I, along with many of the huge population of Gulf Coast Catholics, begin a season of self-denial to make up for the preceding weeks.

It’s a good time, then, to examine what my worst habit is, as it’s come time for me to pick what I’m going to give up for the forty days between Fat Tuesday and Easter Sunday.  I have a number of foibles from which to choose – not brushing my teeth every single night (I know!  I admit it!), my midday beer on Saturdays and Sundays, eating whatever sweet treats are trucked into my office even if I’m not hungry.  The problem with many of my bad habits, though, are they represent an overindulgence of a necessity.  I eat too much, yes, but I can’t give up eating.  I am online too often, definitely, but I cannot give up being online, and moderate online usage (such as updating this here blog!) is such a good way for me to connect with beloved friends.  Lent self-denial has always worked best for me when I absolutely give something up totally, and not when I decide to “cut back” – but most of my worst habits need cutting back, not cutting out.

I’ve pondered giving up facebook – but again, as it’s my primary form of communication with a number of real-life, far-distant friends who I dearly love, I feel that to give it up totally would be mostly good and moderately bad.  I’ve pondered giving up meat, but that would almost be too easy, since we rarely eat it anyway – and besides, I think a little bit of meat is good for me.  Alcohol is a definite contender, as is television . . .  I already gave up the news, because it was causing me too much distress.  I can’t stop checking my phone frequently, as my firm pays for this phone for the purpose of keeping me on top of emails even through weekend and vacation times.  Hmmmmmm . . .

So I wonder what my worst habit is?  What, of all of these things I’ve listed, is the habit that most denigrates my daily life, harms my relationships with family and friends, hurts my body, hurts my soul?  I’m afraid, dear readers, that I’ll have to leave you hanging with this one.  I still can’t decide.  Luckily, I have four weeks plus two days of parades, food, friends, and fun before I have to figure it out.

1 comment:

Wicked M said...

Giving up something completely? That has never worked for me EVER. I am so jealous of your willpower!