Wednesday, March 2, marks the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Christians will observe a holy day of prayer and fasting, followed by six weeks of penitence before Easter Sunday.

Many people will flock to their churches to have ashes of burning palm leaves placed on their foreheads and participate in fasting, but they will also be asked to “give up” something until Easter, which this year falls on Sunday, April 17.

Traditionally, fasting throughout the day, abstaining from meat, and repentance were the extent of Lent, but nowadays, Lent goes beyond food and reflection, and extends into our daily lifestyle.

Some people vow to give up television, while others vow to give up complaining.

I commend anyone who can give up anything for 40 days. I don’t think I would be able to cut out television or coffee cold-turkey, but the beauty of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent is enough for some people to find the motivation to change their lives for the better, allowing them to rejoice on Easter.

For Lent this year, I choose to give up a few things. I aim to give up pessimism and jealousy for the next 40 days because, let’s face it, neither of those behaviors gets us anywhere. I find myself looking at the glass half-full at times or wishing my life was like those of the people I see on social media, so I'll take this opportunity to rid my life of that negativity.

The season of Lent is the perfect time for anyone, no matter their religious affiliation, to reflect on any wrongdoings and make an active decision to change them.

To anyone on the SouthCoast participating in Lent this year, I pray that you have the strength to stay devoted to your sacrifice.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.

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