I never give up anything for Lent. When I was a child, my parents always fasted on some favourite treat during those long weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter, and I felt compelled to at least try to give up something . . . usually candy. What was I thinking? It was doomed to failure. Usually by the second day.
Since then, I have considered the act of fasting during Lent akin to making New Year's resolutions. I've long since acknowledged that I have no willpower, so why set myself up for failure? But this year, I've decided to attempt a variation on the theme. Not completely giving up something that I love dearly. But rather, imposing restrictions. Severe restrictions.
When I lost my job last December, I tried to emphasize the positive side. I would have more time. More time to develop a new hobby or learn a new skill. More time to devote to Halloween props and ideas. More time to make my own pizza dough. More time to organize my photographs and scrapbooks. More time to spend outdoors. More time to start writing that novel. More time to finish the numerous other projects scattered around the house (in various stages of completion). More time to spend on the Internet . . . staying in touch with friends and family, exploring new interests, searching for inspiration.
And therein lies the problem.
I've devoted countless hours these past couple of months to online activities. Facebook, blogs, podcasts, forums, websites, Twitter. My offline activities, however, have languished and withered like a jack-o-lantern in November.
So like the witch in the photograph, I'm picking up my pumpkin and walking away. Not completely, of course. Like my childhood attempt at candy withdrawal, I wouldn't last a day. Instead, I'm going to attempt to limit myself to one hour of recreational Internet use each day from now until Easter. One hour. I'll have to repeat that to myself a few times. And I anticipate one of two things happening.
Worst case scenario: I won't make it past the second day.
Best case scenario: I'll enjoy an incredibly productive and creative few weeks. And when Easter weekend arrives, I'll indulge in chocolate bunnies and a marathon of online activity.
Or, at the very least, I'll have had some great homemade pizza.