So, Lent. This is the forty days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter during which lots of folks make the decision to give up something they enjoy as a gesture of sacrifice. I knew nothing about Lent until we became Methodists a few years back, but I love the concept. It's just that I don't always love the giving up part. This year, I have been having a particularly impossible time deciding what creature comforts to do without.
This is no easy decision and not to be taken lightly, in large part because my birthday is during the Lenten season. I have to be very careful, cautious, and considerate not to abstain from anything that would prevent birthday celebration. Which means I cannot quit sweets (no birthday cake), or cocktails (no birthday fun). I do this as much for my friends and family--who will undoubtedly want to celebrate with me on my big day/week/month--as I do for myself. What can I say? I'm a giver.
Several years ago, I gave up gossip magazines. I had gotten into the rather expensive habit of buying two or three of these publications a week, and while they are thought-provoking, it seemed a little frivolous. My only caveat was that if Britney Spears were to go all head-shaving, umbrella-wielding insano again, I could give in and giddily read all about it. Not only did I make it without caving, I discovered that after a full forty days without the headline-worthy news that Life & Style and USWeekly report, my addiction to a steady stream of pop culture news was cured. Lindsey Lohan can keep on train wrecking and I do not feel the need to pay $3.99 for pictures. Carry on, Kim, Kanye, and all of Hollyweird. A little (free) E! News here and there is plenty to keep me satisfied.
Last year, I gave up fast food. For some of you, that seems like a small sacrifice. For me, it was HUGE. There are very few people who love McDonald's the way this girl does. I went for weeks with no Chick-fil-A, no Happy Meals, no delicious curly fries from Arby's. (Did I mention I love fast food?) You have never seen a girl so happy to eat an Egg McMuffin on Easter Sunday morning! McHalleluiah!
We can also throw into the mix that we are (of course) dieting right now. Which means I already can't eat anything good, so there are infinitely less options to give up. It seems like a half-hearted effort to volunteer to do without carrot sticks, rice cakes, or oatmeal--I mean, really? That's about as sacrificial as going without beets or mincemeat. I momentarily pondered foregoing Diet Coke, but decided that for the sake of my sanity and the well being of those around me, I need my one small daily dose of caffeine. It's kind of my only vice right now, and all virtue and no vice makes Susie a dull (and somewhat homicidal) girl.
Then, sadly, it came to me. What did I have left that I could do without? I thought of one thing that, especially this time of year, makes my little heart beat faster: Peeps. I love Peeps. Especially the sugar-free Peeps, and I will tell you why: for 60 calories, you can enjoy three fluffy, delicious, very filling, chick-shaped marshmallow delicacies. No diet in the world can frown on 60 sugar and fat-free calories. There have been desperate, hungry times when sugar-free Peeps have saved me from almost certain starvation. I hoard them and ration them, so that they last months past Easter. I mourn their loss once the last pack has been eaten, and I keep a watchful eye on the shelves once spring starts to spring up, waiting for those little containers of awesomeness to appear.
It won't be easy, and I wish I were more happy about it, but for the next 38 days (and counting), Peeps are off limits. No chicks, no bunnies, no sugar coated deliciousness. In fact, if you see a Peep, eat one for me. I would want it that way. As an insider trading tip, the company's stock will no doubt plummet during my Peep drought. But you better believe that come Easter, I am going to enjoy a pack of Peeps in the morning before church, a pack after I gorge myself on my mom's potato salad at lunch, and another celebratory pack after I win our annual family Easter egg hunt. It's rare that I can say this, but from now until Easter Sunday, you won't hear a Peep out of me.
See you soon, sweet friends....