Thoughtful Thursday: Guilty pleasures

So I’ve been thinking a lot about pleasure lately, and why it evokes feelings of guilt while indulging in pleasurable things. Now I’m not talking about indulging in immoral acts or anything, lol… just the little things that we enjoy. Maybe I’m alone in feeling guilty, I am quite neurotic. Ha. I have several guilty pleasures; Photoshop, Starbucks Caramel Macchiato ice cream, and reading the obituaries are a few.

Working in Photoshop is a passion. I lose myself when working, I disconnect from reality, and I’m amazed when I look at the clock how much time has passed. Most of the time, I justify my time on the computer with how much I’ve done around the house. For example, I did 2 loads of laundry, spent an hour playing with the kids, and unloaded the dishwasher, so I can have 30 minutes of PS time, guilt-free. What the heck?! Where does the guilt come from? I feel like I always have to make sure my chores are done before my playtime.

Now I understand my guilty feelings about food, in particular, ice cream. I began having weight issues at age 17 and have been every size from 10 to 24 in my adult life. I seem to maintain a size 16 when I’m not trying and when I work at it, I can be a 14. I even made lifetime member in Weight Watchers years ago. Since having Dominic and especially since Anna started having seizures, my weight has stayed a bit on the heavier side than I’d like. I joked with a computer repair guy last month (as I handed over a batch of homemade cookies to thank him for fixing my laptop in one day) that I didn’t get this curvy figure by eating salads. My newest craze is Starbucks Caramel Macchiato ice cream. OMG, this ice cream gives me tingles on the side of my face. I am almost 40 years old and if I want to eat ice cream, I should not feel so bad about it. Right?

I don’t know why I enjoy reading the obituaries. My husband thinks I’m morbid so I hide it from him… in fact, reading them is something I always do privately. I guess it’s a way for me to honor those lives, to read their accomplishments, their families, their legacies. When I see someone my age, it gives me pause and makes me take a breath in gratitude for my life. It’s all so fragile and tenuous and I forget to appreciate it when I’m dealing with my day-to-day stresses.

I’m not advocating a completely hedonistic, selfish lifestyle, but I wonder why pleasure is so fraught with guilt. Maybe it’s a mom thing, we are usually at the bottom of our own to-do lists. Maybe it’s listening too much to what the “experts” say is good for us and bad for us. I think everyone knows someone who lived to be 75 and didn’t eat the right foods and smoked and drank too much. Balancing pleasure and living in the moment with being thoughtful about the future is something I continually struggle with. But for right now, I’m going to sneak a spoonful of ice cream and not feel guilty about it!

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