This Year’s Lenten Observance in Review

For Lent, I gave up ego searching, i.e., checking Google and other places to see if people were talking about me, and if so, what it was they were saying. I thought giving it up would be difficult, but after the first couple of days, it was actually really no problem at all — although I will admit that it probably helped that I removed my search bookmarks, and likewise the search for un-@-ed references to my name on Twitter, so that if I wanted to do a search, I would have to type it in manually. Seriously, who has time for that.

As I said, I thought I would miss it, and I was really surprised to find out that I don’t. Not knowing what everyone else in the online world was thinking of me at any particular moment was… surprisingly restful. Not knowing also did not materially change my life in any substantial way as far as I can tell.

Now that Easter is here, I can start ego surfing again, but I don’t think I’m going to — or at the very least don’t plan to do it with any regularity. I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I just don’t really care what the Internet thinks of me. Scratch that: I think I reached that point a while back, and I was just clicking on the searches out of habit. Stopping for Lent gave me a nice long time to break that, and now I don’t see what I would want to go back. Thanks, Lent!

(Also: Happy Easter, folks.)

20 Comments on “This Year’s Lenten Observance in Review”

  1. Happy Easter. You could start Id-searching yourself, but that might get weird. Best leave that stone unturned.

  2. I have a fairly unusual name, but I still come up with several other people ahead of me in the google search queue. Humbling…

    Happy Easter, all.

  3. Happy to hear it was a success and gave you something to take-away beyond Lent. I wonder what other religions have “exercises” we could all benefit from?

  4. Well, technically when you give something up for Lent, it’s meant to be a long term change, not just for the Lenten Season. This sometimes gets lost in the modern interpretation. So you’re being traditional. Bonus points that what you gave up can fit within one of the Big Sins.

  5. I think Lent originally (Middle Ages England originally) involved giving up foods that weren’t very available that time of year anyway. People weren’t expected to give them up *permanently*; just until Easter.

    I gave up chocolate for Lent. This was my first time Lenting and it was remarkably hard. I never quit wanting chocolate and a couple of times had to stop myself at the point of absentmindedly reaching into a package.

    It did let me re-acquaint myself with circus peanuts and caramels and liquorice, and also notice how much of the impulse buy candy territory is occupied by different incarnations of chocolate–the analogy to giving up reading white male authors did not escape me.

    So now I have chocolate–my favorite Hersheys chocolate eggs with the candy shell–and somehow it doesn’t taste as good as I remember. That’s a bit of a let-down.

    I’m not sure I like Lenting. I will have to think about this.

    I’m glad your Lent-experiment worked out well for you, in any case.

  6. I was going for vanity or a focus on one’s own being for your own sake (compared to service to others and maintaining yourself to continue to be of service – which I know you do), but pride also works. It depends on your motivation.

    It’s good for me that I don’t believe either is sin (because I suffer from both), but the Church disagrees.

  7. After Google checking my own memory, I guess the Church considers Pride to be Vanity (must be my art history leaking out again that I’m using the older term).

  8. If you didn’t miss it, does it really count? Will you have to do a remedial course of giving up something else that you will miss more? Do churches offer courses in Remedial Lenting?

  9. You are likely more productive now. You can blow a lot of time on the web blog/twitter warring other people over silly things. Now with all the free time on your hand, I hope to see 2 books a year from you.

  10. “Remedial Lenting” is a spiffy band name.

    Pretty sure it’s considered a good thing if the Lenten sacrifice turns out to be something you can do without, as long as giving it up was a sacrifice in the first place.

  11. At this point, you don’t really need to go back to ego-searching, what with all the @ mentions.

  12. My giving-up-for-Lent survived all of 4 weeks, at which point not buying anything online went out the airlock in its long johns. Some things really aren’t available locally.

  13. Congratulations, John. I was wondering how it went for you and hoping you would be successful.. I gave up online shopping, and let me tell you it was a challenge. The best part, though as you mentioned above, is that I was forced to rethink my purchases and determine that while it is ok to occasionally treat myself, it is best to monitor my expenditures and not purchase something Every Single Week like I was doing before Lent. It has been amazingly liberating and humbling at the same time. And I guess if that is my takeaway then it was a challenge well met.

  14. I really need to give up stuff AFTER Lent. Because Easter candy. On sale once we hit Easter Monday. I should probably give up candy in mid-summer or something.

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