We're half way through Ramadan. That's right, day 15 today. And there's one question I can't seem to find an answer to:
Is it getting easier?
On the one hand, I want to say yes. I've gotten used to interrupted sleep to get up and eat breakfast (Sehri), I've gotten used to working through lunchtime without noticing and I've definitely gotten used to dodging all the free cake that has been circulating around the office over the past fortnight (seriously, what is it about free cake at work?!). In a very practical sense fasting has become easier.
On the other hand, I'm inclined to say it's become more difficult. The lack of water has brought with it its fair share of headaches and I sometimes I just want an ice cream. But what's most difficult is keeping calm and staying true to the spirit of Ramadan. The Ramadan Diaries over on Channel 4 document this spirit from a number of Muslims. This month is about togetherness, forgiveness and sacrifice. All of which I've been struggling with slightly.
Namely the sacrifice. I keep finding myself in thoughts of why am I sacrificing, when I could be making my life easier by eating and drinking. With the stresses of a hectic job it's hard to remember to keep cool when the overriding feelings are of hunger, thirst and fatigue, all of which shorten one's fuse considerably and diminish the willing to make a sacrifice.
I suppose that's why it's good that Ramadan is a month long, rather than a single day. There are thousands, if not millions of people who grapple with these three feelings of hunger, thirst and fatigue continually and putting myself through a sacrifice that is highlighted every day for 30 days is providing me with a physical and mental journey to try and understand what those people face every day. For them it is not a sacrifice - they aren't giving up something because put simply, they don't have it at their disposal in the first place.
When I look at things from the perspective of the whole month, rather than the individual occasions of declining the invitation for a cup of tea, saying no to a cupcake, or not having a glass of water in a meeting; I would say that overall fasting is getting easier. It's getting easier because mentally I can see an end in sight, and that's something that others who are stuck in a sort of permanent Ramadan don't have the comfort of. So I should count my blessings, so to speak.