[ab-stuh-nuh ns]

noun

1. forbearance from any indulgence of appetite, especially from the use of alcoholic beverages: total abstinence.

2. any self-restraint, self-denial, or forbearance.
 
This should in no way be confused with the typical New Year’s resolution fodder for the teeming masses; there is some serious life editing at work and it’s been going on for months now. Presently I am doing without the following:

  • Alcohol – This is concurrently both way less and way more of a big deal in that a) I have never been much of a drinker and do not miss it at all & b) This is permanent.
  • Dating – Often in the past I have soaked my calendar with a veritable flood of social engagements with the opposite sex. Often a dozen or so per week. I did this mainly to shift focus from serious issues to something more frivolous. Occasionally, I would even have fun! Mostly, I found it disappointing and exhausting. So I stopped. Things have been shockingly quiet ever since. I do not intend for this to be permanent, but you never can tell.
  • Sex – It might seem redundant to mention this given the previous list item but, between you and me, it honestly just isn’t.
  • Fast Food – Sadly, my most irresistible vice. Embarrassing to admit, but this wouldn’t be the first time. It’s been much harder to resist than anything else I mention here.
  • Dairy – Technically, this hasn’t happened yet. It is what I am giving up for Lent. I figure it is the only pleasure remaining that I haven’t already denied myself.

And just what, you may be wondering, have I been doing with myself instead?

Running. A lot.

My Runkeeper tells me I have run 47.4 miles already this month! This represents a substantial uptick in the amount of running I have been doing compared with – O – the entire rest of my life.

And it turns out, I really really really enjoy running. It accomplishes something that very few other activities can: it quiets my mind long enough to feel peace.

Plusalso I’ve been taking some groovy pictures while I’m out there.

Ready to take my new kicks out for their first run.  Feelin' saucy.

Ready to take my new kicks out for their first run. Feelin’ saucy.

The light amongst the trees was irresistible.

Arguably, stopping to shoot all these photos might have tampered with my momentum.

It may well be stopping to shoot all these photos tampered with my momentum.

I think it was worth it.

Arguably I’ve given up a lot of things in recent months. And not just the things I listed. I’ve also given up feeling frustrated and disappointed all the time. I’ve given up doing things I can’t enjoy simply to please others. I’ve given up the idea that being by myself means I am lonely.

Oh, abstinence. If I’d known you had such an upside, I would have tried you on sooner!