It wasn’t until the day before Lent began that I decided what I wanted to give up. I hadn’t even been really thinking about giving up something for Lent because I’m not Catholic and every other time I’ve tried giving something up, I’ve failed miserably.
But the night before, I was sitting in the living room chatting with my mom and I just decided: I would give up sweets at work, and I would also give up soda (all the time, not just at work).
I am so proud to say that I made it through the entire Lenten season without drinking soda or eating sweets at work. Giving up sweets at work wasn’t too much of a struggle. I set up my work-from-home days so I wasn’t in the office on the days where we had cake for birthdays (something we do once a month), and I stayed far, far away from all my coworkers who have candy jars on their desks. (And, thankfully, I think there were only a handful of times where someone brought in a treat to share. I just stayed out of the kitchen until they were gone!)
Giving up soda, though… was so, so tough. I remember when I gave up soda in 2013 for 30 days that once I got over the hump of caffeine withdrawal and cravings, I was fine. No such thing happened this time around. While I didn’t go through caffeine withdrawal (since giving up soda the first time around, I don’t drink it nearly enough to be addicted to the caffeine), the cravings did. not. stop.
I really wanted to come to the end of Lent and feel as if I could cut soda out of my life completely. That was my ultimate goal. But I discovered through this journey that I derive joy from soda. And I know that’s maybe not a good thing, but it’s true. I just enjoy the taste of an ice-cold Dr. Pepper. It makes me happy. That’s what I kept realizing every time a craving hit me – I missed the joy and happiness that Dr. Pepper brings me.
So, I craved soda almost every single day. And goddddd, it was so hard to make it through those cravings. I couldn’t think of making it through six weeks without soda. I had to take it one day at a time. I just had to make it through Monday or Friday or Sunday. That was the only way I made it through the cravings because I honestly wanted to give up within the first week.
I am so proud of myself for not giving in. Because usually, I am the type to give in. Life is too short to not eat/drink/do the things you want, right? Well, sometimes. And sometimes, there’s no more empowering feeling than not giving in. To shutting down the cravings. To telling yourself no.
It’s funny how you don’t really know how capable and strong you are until you give yourself the chance to be that way. I think that’s what I learned the most from these past 46 days. I learned that I can be strong and I can see myself through a challenge, even when it’s so hard that I don’t know if I can make it through the next moment.
I guess it’s a good metaphor for life. Because life gets hard. And you have to keep going on. You have to make it through the difficult moments… the moments when you don’t think you can walk a single step further. But you do. Somehow, you do. And that’s the beauty of life.