40 Days Between Muggles
When you are born and raised in a practicing Catholic family, educated in Catholic school and Catholic college, it is obvious to guess that Lent has been part of my life since the beginning. At first, it doesn’t make much sense to you – it’s just a time when you know for sure you aren’t eating meat on Fridays. But as you grow up, you start to understand that Lent is not about the food you stop eating; it’s about sacrificing something you love and reflecting on it, learning from the sacrifice, and making yourself a better person.
I have been a Potterhead for 16 years. Since I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I haven’t even once imagined my life without Harry. So when the MuggleNet team proposed the idea of giving up Harry Potter for Lent, my first thought was, “Is this even possible?”
Becoming a Muggle was not easy and these were, by far, the longest 40 days of my life. In order to make this Lent sacrifice possible, I first had to delete all social media accounts from my phone because every single account or profile that I have has Potter-related content. I then had to remove my books from their spot on the bookshelf, take down my calendar, and even change my doormat. I never felt so isolated and incomplete; it was like a part of me was missing.
I discovered that at least 80% of my day-to-day entertainment depends on Harry Potter. Fan fiction, Facebook groups, my friends, the movies, the books, fansites, the memes… it was extremely hard to find something else to do, to try new things and not compare them to the Potterverse. I developed weird habits, like excessive cleaning, anxiety-related eating, and swiping through my phone with no purpose at all. I was more irritable, my patience threshold was lowered, and to be honest, I felt a bit depressed because I just felt excluded from the entire world.
On the bright side I began doing more things outside, like taking my daughter to the park or for ice cream more often. I had longer conversations with my husband, and we even started a routine of filling out the newspaper’s crossword together. I spent more time actually speaking to my parents, and not just being physically present in their house. This made me realize that, although I never neglected my family because of Harry Potter, I certainly was taking for granted the moments we spent together.
I discovered that the time that I invest in MuggleNet or with any Potter-related activity doesn’t affect my efficiency at work or my study schedule. I just get easily distracted, and to be honest, I procrastinate a lot, so I decided to use this new knowledge to improve that part of my life.
I won’t be dramatic and say this Lenten season completely changed my life or transformed my perspective of the universe – I’m back to social media, my books are back in their rightful honorary place, my calendar is back on the wall, and my doormat is back in front of my door. So in theory, everything is exactly the same. What had I learned?
Through these 40 days, I confirmed that, for me, the Potter universe goes beyond the story. I learned that Harry Potter is part of my life, but it is not my entire life. I could live without it and my world wouldn’t collapse, but it is my choice to enjoy it to its fullest. I discovered that I identify myself as a Potterhead, not because I’m obsessed with Harry Potter in a clinical manner, but because its fandom and community is one that I identify with, due to shared interests and similar points of view.
Would I ever do this again? Probably not, but this experience has helped me analyze myself and see my love for Harry Potter from a completely different perspective, and I can assure you that it was worth it.