We’re Allowed Our “Things” – Our Guilty Pleasures

self-care Oct 04, 2020
Reading a romance novel by the pool can be a guilty pleasure

We all have our “thing” that we do that seems to defy our outward persona. Others might look at us funny when they learn of it, but we simply respond with a smile and something down the lines of, “It’s my Thing! Leave me alone!” My best friend holds onto all of her People Magazines and when she goes on vacation she catches up on them and does all of the crosswords. It’s actually hilarious because she’ll text me with some Hollywood gossip tidbit that she knew nothing about that may have happened six months prior.

My “thing” used to be the Bachelor. I had a group of friends who loved it, as well, and we would have a text chain for the entire season of the show. We often asked each other why a bunch of 50 somethings were watching it but we decided it didn’t matter. It was our “thing.” We owned it. Even when our husbands would walk into the room and claim they felt dumber just by being in its presence.

My current “thing” is so random and it amuses my husband immensely. It’s the Linda Castillo Amish Murder Mystery Series. I can’t explain it. Other than to say, “It’s my thing.” I get lost in those books even though they all have the exact same forumla. I finish one and can’t wait to read the next. It’s like an adult version of the Nancy Drew Mysteries.

Other of my things throughout the years have included the Discovery Channel Series “I Was Pregnant and Didn’t Know It” along with “My 600 Pound Life.” “Intervention” was another one for a while, as well. “Hoarders” continues to be a go to now and again.

And don’t even get me started on my Words With Friends habit.

Many of us tend to think about food, wine, or shopping when we are asked to describe our guilty pleasures. But I just love hearing the obscure ones. Where intelligent women decide to read 6 months worth of People Magazines in one sitting or to delve into the latest Amish Murder Mystery. Maybe you’re into Desperate Housewives. Sister Wives. Say Yes to the Dress. And there’s always the fabulous Kardashian family! Why do we engage in these? Are there benefits?

We're Busy Women!

Even after 50 we are continuing to juggle life’s roles. We’ve got our families which often can now include senior parents and grandchildren. Many of us are still working. Being able to escape into the world of the trashy romance novel or the Netflix bingewatch is allowed and understandable every now and again. It’s the quick version of doing something solely for ourselves. With as much as we do for everyone else, we deserve our guilty pleasures!

There's So Much Heavy These Days

As I’m writing this, we are smack in the middle of a global pandemic which has now hit our president. The people of our country seemingly have forgotten how to treat each other with respect and kindness. Everything feels heavy, especially as we watch the news.

Reading about celebrity spottings or debating the pros and cons of the Bachelor’s choices and how the hometown visits are going to go is a welcome reprieve from reality.

Everything in moderation, of course. If I’m being honest, my Words With Friends habit was becoming just that – a habit. It was getting to the point where I was picking up my phone many times throughout the day to catch up and play words. It was distracting me from being productive in a different way than reading my mysteries or watching an episode of Sister Wives.

I had to consciously be present and tell myself to put my phone down. Now, I give myself WWF breaks here and there throughout the day. And then I get back to work.

Health Benefits?

Research is showing that indulging in guilty pleasures can be psychologically resorative and help us to relieve stress. Time spent doing these things can often give our brain a rest from work, and problem solving, which is valuable. Both of these sources drew attention to a very interesting and valid point. There is zero difference in the guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelor versus watching the Superbowl or an NBA playoff game. Simply a difference in how society as a whole views the two! Neither requires our brains to do any work. And, for me, The Bachelor was a social event as is a sporting event. Each week, I got together virtually with my group of friends for wine, laughs, and friendly arguments about how the show was going to play out that night.

Because Why Not?   Who Cares?

And, at the end of the day, this is the thing. We aren’t hurting anyone, including ourselves. And, in fact, research is suggesting that we are reaping some benefit by engaging in these activities. What is important, is that we take the guilt out of the guilty pleasure. We cannot work, care for our families, exercise, and be productive 24/7. We NEED that time to do that “thing” that is ours.

Because, if we aren’t in a good well rounded place, what good are we to those who rely on us? So, really, those Amish murder mysteries are making me a more well-rounded calm person.

See how that works?