We all have guilty pleasures. Those little things we do, consume or think that the pesky angel on our shoulders tells us is indulgent or unhealthy or selfish. I’ll tell you mine, you tell me yours.

Embrace these pleasures, I say. What’s the harm? I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lifetime being good. Our society teaches girls to be well-behaved lest they bring the wrath of who-knows-who down upon them. We spend so much time trying to please others, we often forget about the power of pleasing ourselves.

The Bright Side of Guilty Pleasures

Most of these guilty pleasures are truly innocuous. Take my penchant for ramen noodles or graham crackers. I get it. There’s too much salt in these packaged foods, but those quick, satisfying, cheap noodles are not really hurting anyone, least of all me.

 
 

I’ve even figured out how to eat them in a “go” cup when I need to dash to a meeting – no spoon or spork required. I just slurp away in my car. What? Nobody’s looking! Are they?

Where’s Your Cookie Stash?

I doubt there’s a person among us who doesn’t have a cookie stash somewhere, or that bar of chocolate hidden, or some gummies. I used to keep gummies in my desk at my showroom to withdraw for a quick burst of pleasure during a long afternoon at work.

I’d casually slip one or two gummies into my mouth and no one would know the difference, except to catch the smile creeping across my face as the sugar bled like goo in my mouth. I could ride this sugar high for a good hour, making great progress on my work at hand. Surely a new design, or press release was worth the sugar of two gummies?

Improve Your Mental Stability

Guilty pleasures are good for mental stability. Perhaps you think this is a rationalization or easy out, and so what? If watching sappy movies so you can have a good cry, or checking out the comics in the newspaper gives you a lift for the day, that works for me.

All the therapy in the world won’t give me the satisfaction of watching a favorite sit-com re-run on a rainy day. Plump me up with a few cushions and a warm cup of tea, and life is good and manageable.

The definition of guilty pleasures infers some secret you are trying to keep and a reproach that you don’t deserve this luxury. A more supportive approach might be to see these pleasures as easy enjoyment without pretense.

Sleeping late on Saturday’s or reading trashy magazines at the airport, aren’t luxuries; they’re little presents to yourself that don’t harm another soul. Well, maybe the celebrities depicted in those scandalous articles would disagree, but then again, the articles are often about their guilty pleasures, only encouraging you to want to pursue yours even more.

Don’t Cross This Line

Speaking of unsophisticated drivel, there is one particular guilty pleasure best not revealed – your weakness for Holidays on Ice. I’m not going to put my two cents in here, I’m just the messenger. But discussion of stars on ice, or any costumed character gliding across a bedazzled surface, for that matter, will elicit such painful cringes, it’s just not worth the badge of courage for honesty.

Similarly, some very personal habits should not be admitted to in public. You’ve heard the expression too much information, or TMI, correct? Well, you run the risk of that response if you get too far down into the nitty gritty of your personal life. I’m not even going to deign to provide examples. You know what I’m talking about!

Laughing It Off

The little things, though – the innocent, inoffensive and nonirritating lapses from your cultured self – are the stuff of laughter, likely to kindle hilarious revelations from your friends, with their own secrets. And laughter’s the best medicine for shirking off any suppressed shame you may be clinging to when it comes to your snack habits, love for rom-com or similar lowbrow indulgences.

Embrace the shame. Laugh through your repression.

What are your guilty pleasures or indulgences? What do you love to do that breaks some of the adult rules you followed when you were younger? Have you stopped trying to please everyone now that you are in your 50s or better? Please share in the comments!

Nicole GoldmanNicole Goldman, a tail-ender of the Baby Boom, lives and works in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She has embodied many iterations of a creative professional from arts manager to designer, writer and organizational leader. Nicole’s distinctive voice brings a fresh perspective to this phase of life she calls “freedom,” when opportunities abound and life is as full as you make it. For more commentary from Nicole, visit her blog at Yeah, That’s My Point.

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