For my non-Christian (or non-churchy-Christian) readers, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter (although different denominations count it out differently, according to Wikipedia, with Western churches claiming that Sundays are "mini-Easters" and don't count). The 40-day time period represents the time Jesus spent in the desert enduring temptation by the devil. Some Christians choose to give up a temptation during Lent in sympathy with Jesus. Others feel that the sacrifice, combined with prayer and "alms giving" help prepare the spirit for the coming Easter holiday.
I generally give something up for Lent, partly to sympathize with Jesus, partly as a reminder to think about God daily, and partly to remind myself about what I really need. I eat at least one piece of chocolate every day. Giving up chocolate for 40 days reminds me that, although I love chocolate, I don't need chocolate.
That said, I'm not giving up chocolate this year. I'm stressed out enough right now as it is. Also, last time I gave up chocolate for Lent, I gained weight. I think I subconciously overcompensated for the lack of chocolate with other food, which is counterproductive.
No, I'm giving up the Internet. Well, not the entire Internet. I still have to teach and be a student, and these days the web is required for both. I'll be cutting out any non-essential internet activity. Writing is kind of my job, so I'll still post here, but I'm giving up on reading blogs and using social networking sites until April 12. Sigh.
Earlier this semester, I was depressed, and when I'm depressed I have trouble focusing. I turned to social networking sites and blogs. They required very little concentration, yet could occupy my thoughts for hours. Now, they've become a pleasurable habit, but they're taking up too much of my time. Thus, for Lent I'm swearing off of them all, including Facebook, Twitter, Television Without Pity, Dear Old Love, CakeWrecks, Craftastrophe, LOLCats, Cute Overload, One Sentence, and Passive Agressive Notes. I'm kind of hoping I won't miss any of them, and when Lent is over I'll only read my friends' blogs. It's worth a shot. I know some Christians' pet peeve is people who treat Lent like a second crack at New Year's resolutions, but to them I say, "Phooey." If a resolutionish Lent sacrifice gets me to think about Jesus daily while improving myself as a person, how can it possibly be a bad thing?
(The image above is from www.yogabytheseatofyourpants.com.)