I am speaking to you today from what I am pleased to call my study, with a brand-new, left-handed, all-bells-and-whistles, wireless mouse. This has the added satisfaction of being freecycled and so emits tiny squeaks of environmental righteousness at suitable intervals, which is most gratifying.
Day one of Project Fast went reasonably well: I experienced a pit of hunger around 9.30 but stuck it out and drank some water instead. The hunger abated and by 10.30 I didn’t feel particularly ravenous, though I ate anyway. So far so good; today I’m going for 10.00 as I’m a bit knackered, but will aim to ramp up to 11 next week.
The new mouse is properly left-handed, which means the buttons are reversed. This takes a bit of getting used to, though not too much as we had a similarly-reversed mouse a while back; but it set me thinking about skills we learn and how these come back to you even after a period of years. For example, when I got my piano keyboard, even though I hadn’t touched a piano for years my fingers instantly remembered the pieces I used to play. This is totally awesome when you think about it and I can’t help wondering about how this connects with evolution. Will we have more flexible thumbs in the future because of using mobile phones? I know young people have much more movement in their digits, thumbing the length and breadth of a keyboard with amazing dexterity, but I struggle to use a phone in one hand (there is often an issue with size, these things being designed by and for men, but mine’s quite a small model, so it isn’t that.)
In the meantime, I’m trying very hard to think about Brexit. It’s hard to imagine a greater disaster in post-war Britain and we have cautiously stocked up on a few non-perishable items just in case.
I don’t know if you had pancakes yesterday – we did: a sort of mash-up of vegan mess and egg-based loveliness on which I had peanut butter and then maple syrup with lemon juice. For yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, shrove being the past participle of shrive which means to be cleansed of all sins. And so begins the period of Lent which is traditionally a fast. Not that people fasted from all food during that time, they mostly gave up meat and had thin, simple dishes like soup. When enforced such things lead to misery and resentment but when undertaken voluntarily and in a spirit of experiment they can produce real growth; so in that spirit I have decided to spend my forty days and nights building up to a full 24-hr fast.
I have always been very bad at fasting: I’m OK for an hour or two after hunger bites, but then I start to get scared. I watch myself for signs of faintness, afraid that I might collapse. This is not a rational fear as I have plenty of reserves and I’m probably good for at least 36 hours if I really need to be, but the fear is there nonetheless. So my Lent experiment is as follows:
Week 1: fast till 10/11 o’clock
Week 2: fast till 12/1 o’clock
Week 3: fast till 3/4
Week 4: fast till 5/6
Week 5: till 6
Week 6: till 7
Then the remaining four days will alternate between 24-hr fast and eating normally.
I will only be doing this on weekdays; at the weekend I will go back to eating normally. The aim is not to lose weight specifically, nor to eat less, but simply to extend the period wherein I am able to go without food.
Why? Why in god’s name am I putting myself through this? Am I panicking about a no-deal Brexit? Well, no, not really, though we are taking a few precautions; getting in some dried food, planning the veg for the garden, and so on. No, it’s more in the spirit of personal development. It bugs me that whenever I try to fast I hit a brick wall and have to stop. This is something I want to achieve in my life, for general health as well as personal development, so I’ve decided to work up to it and the period of Lent is an excellent opportunity to do so. And yes, I will probably get in a supply of chocolate for Easter Sunday!
So today I’m fasting till 10.30. It’s now 10.01 and I’m struggling a bit. I’ll keep you posted.