I’m not the most devout Catholic (sorry, mom). Even though I was born and raised in a super Catholic Irish family, went to church every Sunday growing up, and even graduated from a Catholic high school, my application for sainthood would be denied faster than someone trying to get a seat on the Red Line during peak hours. Despite not being as active in a faith as my family would like me to be (again, sorry mom), there are still some traditions I observe, one of which being Lent. To keep it short and to prevent me from whipping out a Bible, Lent is the “preparation time” right before Catholics celebrate Easter. The main gist of it is that for 40 long days, and seriously long days, you are supposed to deprive yourself of something. People can take it as seriously or not seriously as possible. I always appreciated my dad giving up chocolate covered socks year after year but I normally choose something that poses a challenge, and I actually stick it out. The decision of what to give up is usually tough but given my current diet and a Spring Break cruise coming up, deciding this year was easy. I’m giving up chicken nuggets for Lent.
Now, those who know me might be quite alarmed. No, this is not a joke. No, I have not gone mad. Yes, I am serious. I can eat a 20 piece Chicken McNugget no problem and still have room for some fries and a soda. Also, I regularly have a box of dinosaur chicken nuggets in my freezer that puts any day care’s stash of the awesome little creatures to shame. Frankly speaking, my diet is that of a six year old and truly unhealthy. As convenient as chicken nuggets are to a busy and starving college student like myself, I’m basically setting myself up for a heart attack. Putting all religious significance aside, 40 days is the perfect amount of time to break and recreate a habit. If I lose the habit of eating deep fried chicken morsels, I’m truly on the road to a better lifestyle. So as long as I don’t give up chicken nuggets only to excessively start eating french fries instead, I’m developing an unhealthy habit into a healthier one.
The other aspect of ditching chicken nuggets for Lent is the growth in my maturity. I am literally twenty two years old, currently talking about what could easily be defined as a chicken nugget addiction. I’m not a psychologist, but this seems a little unusual if you ask me. In general, fast food and frozen food have been quite a convenience for me and not the product of an uncultured palate. If I honestly had the time, I would likely cook for myself way more and not resort to frozen nuggets or a quick stroll to McDonalds. It’s super immature of me to not make time to eat healthier and save so much money. Not only kicking an addiction, but creating a better lifestyle seems pretty grown up if you ask me. I’m the pro at limiting the amount of adulting I do as much as possible, so my chicken nugget sacrifice is an instant boost to my maturity.
So will the next 40 days be a nightmare? Potentially, but I am hopeful for the future. I see my Lenten observance an opportunity to practice what’s remaining of my faith and also to strengthen myself as a person. At the end of the day, the whole goal of Lent is to sacrifice something to strengthen you elsewhere. Granted, your Catholic faith is supposed to be improved upon, but I don’t mind helping out my lifestyle as well. Who knew removing such a basic child’s dish like chicken nuggets could really motivate progress in my life? Nevertheless, over the next couple of week’s I’ll be making my mom happy (is apologizing a third time to her too excessive?) and my body happy too.