Guilt. It’s a five-letter word that doesn’t roll off the tongue. It’s more of a thud. A clunk.
It keeps you from sleeping at night and when you open your eyes in the morning, that thickness can thwart the sunshine streaming through the windows, leaving you a bit blah.
Women just seem to be born with guilt. From our exit out of the womb, it is well known the kind of pain we have just put our mothers through. From there, we are instructed to behave a certain way, and as we live in the shadows of our maternal guide, we take away one certainty: you will always have guilt about something.
What is on today’s menu of guilty non-pleasures? Well, let’s see.
- Get Off Your Ass and Exercise Today
- Eat A Healthy Breakfast Or You’ll Regret It
- I Hope You Enjoyed That Extra Hour of Sleep, You Should Have Been Up Already
If we start with an appetizer, I would say Exercise is at the top of the list. It’s probably at the top of everyone’s guilt menu. I know I should exercise today, I know it will make me feel good, but, will I do it? I look at the clock and think, hmm, I should go now, get it over with. Or, then, I might think, it’s going to be a nice day, maybe I should run outside on the lake, later on. I might look online to see what classes are at the gym today. Maybe I’ll do that instead. As the clock ticks on, one thing is for sure: the second hand fueling that clock is guilt.
Moving down the menu to the main courses, we find the bulk of our day being weighed down by more feelings of ineptness. Work is at the top. It comes with a side of:
- Am I Doing Everything I Could/Should To Be Productive Today?
- Oh My God, Did I Just Send That Email?
- Do My Co-workers Like Me?
- Is My Boss Mad At Me?
- Get Off Facebook And Get Back To Work
This is just the first entrée!
As your appetite grows throughout the day, feel free to choose from other delicious items such as:
- I Should Call My Mother Today
- My Boyfriend Thinks I Don’t Care For Any Of His Interests
- My House Is A Mess And I Really Should Clean It
- You Should Want To Listen To All Of Your Friends Problems
- You Could Have It All But You’re Just Not That Motivated
*These all come with a heaping, steaming side dish of guilt.
We will muddle through the day, as it looms over us, causing anxiety and stress, which in turn, causes mini-explosions of chaos around and inside of us. We will become road-rage drivers, swearing at someone crossing the street with their damn stroller, taking forever, become snappish at the dry cleaners waiting for that pile of clothes, and we will not be able to roll our eyes hard enough as the elevator seems to stop at every floor. All the while, thinking and stewing over what we should have, but did not, do that day. Are you feeling guilty yet for reading this, when you should be working?
The day wraps up with dessert. Dessert in itself is a guilty pleasure. We women must watch our waistlines, so dessert is a forbidden desire that we must keep to ourselves. Our choices this evening for dessert are:
- I Didn’t Work Out Today, I Am A Total Loser
- I Didn’t Kill It At Work Today, I Should Be Fired
- I Didn’t Return My Mother’s Phone Call, I Am A Bad Daughter
- My Place Is Still A Mess, I Am A Hoarder
- I Ate A Cheeseburger From McDonald’s Today, What A Pig
Oh, the choices! What’s a girl to do?
As I approach turning forty, I am starting to appreciate that whole, “with age comes wisdom” crap that I have been desperately waiting for. It doesn’t necessarily hit you on the head one day and suddenly you’re smarter. I think you just get tired. Tired of carrying around this daily menu of guilty options.
Someone recently told me, “Guilt is a wasted emotion.” And it’s true. From my vast experience with it, it does not bring anything good to the table. It sits in front of you, stares at you, waiting to be engulfed. But, the problem with guilt is, it is never satiated. It doesn’t give you that warm, yummy feeling that Chocolate Lava Cake can.
So, today, I am going to try to not even look at my menu of guilt. The great thing about that damn menu is that it’s always available. It delivers and you can carry out.
But, I am not hungry. Guilt can go take a hike for exercise, it can wait until I’m ready to make phone calls to mother, the house isn’t really that messy, my boyfriend knows I adore him regardless of my lack of interest in his hobbies, and you know what else, guilt? I will have a cheeseburger today and enjoy every juicy, fatty bite of it, GUILT FREE.