Lent is quite a funny period isn’t it?! Ok, obviously not in the religious sense (that was actually quite a controversial opening statement – sorry about that), but in the whole ‘giving up something for Lent’ sense, and the effects of it.
I mean, when you look around you, it becomes clear that it’s basically a case of finding cunning replacements for the things you’ve given up, and a period of cheating the system. For example, last year Mum gave up television, but she was allowed to record the programmes she wanted to watch (on the hard-drive) and then watch them (“because that’s not LIVE television, Nell. Duh!”).
I’ve found myself falling into exactly the same trap this year. You see, I’ve given up tea for Lent; as in lovely ‘builder’s’ tea with milk, my biggest addiction to date. (Statistically, when it’s not Lent, I drink at least 17 cups a day, but I reckon that’s a good thing, because my hero Jonathan Swift used to drink well over 50 each day, and I think that might have been the reason for his genius). Anyway, I’m still allowed to drink Lesbian Tea (herbal tea – not really my thing), but not the proper, caffeinated stuff. People frequently ask me why I’ve given it up, ‘it’s not BAD for you, after all’, but that’s the POINT. Everyone always uses Lent as some kind of a dieting/detoxing period, so I decided I’d give up something that I would genuinely find impossible to give up. Enter: Tea.
The problem is I’ve now found myself turning to coffee as a replacement. Where I used to drink tea, I now drink coffee. And coffee’s ‘bad’ for me, right? Well I’ve been buzzing like a bee for the past 6 weeks, anyway. So Lent has taught me a bad habit. I’ve also given up custard (my other life-long craving), so I’ve replaced that with rice-pudding (another equally yummy, milky pudding). I’ve somehow tricked the system.
And my sister and I genuinely sit in the kitchen, discussing and concocting clever replacements for the chocolate she’s managed to give up over the past 6 weeks. Sweeties have ranked highly, as have biscuits, and dates are certainly up there too; they’re apparently the best replacement for chocolate, kick-wise (we really have done our research). Yoghurt-covered raisins also featured for a bit, until others deemed them ‘chocolate in disguise’, and they were therefore crossed off the list. I mean we’d never CHEAT, obviously.
There’s only a week more to go now, but this whole experience has basically taught me that humans have addictions for a reason. It’s not so much the food we’re eating, but the process of eating/drinking it. It’s the routine of it all. I like challenging myself during the period of Lent, but I really do find it interesting to watch everyone cunningly and instinctively crawling down various escape routes when it all gets too much. Not breaking the rules, but bending them.
But man oh man, that first cup of tea on Easter Sunday really is going to be HOT STUFF. Literally.