Now that I'm Old and a Recovering Catholic, I've pretty much given up Guilt. It's kind of my permanent Lent offering, except that I'm not sacrificing anything, I'm still eating meat on Fridays, and hey, if a Pope can just up and quit his job, doesn't that kind of render Lent a moot proposition anyway?
I remember the first day I began to part ways with Guilt, and I've documented it here. As I aged, Guilt got quieter and more reticent. Instead of lurking in every corner of my conscience, ready to tsk with disapproval, it simply sat there, silent and weary. Years of middle child syndrome, battles with weight and body image, motherhood, and teaching had made Guilt an impotent shadow. At fifty-four, retired, and at long last relaxed, I find that it's been relatively easy to let go of Guilt. Most of its origins are gone, anyway.
There are times, however, that I feel A Little Bit Bad when I do something. Not so much Guilty, just kind of like a kid does when he sneaks a cooky or like a teenager does when he exploits a loophole in a rule. That sort of What The Hell attitude. Or, as today's question asks:
What is your guilty pleasure?
I wrote about this once before, too, a long time ago, here. But that was almost eight years ago. Things can change in eight years, and for me they have.
My Number One Guilty Pleasure is One-Bowl dinners in front of the television. Doesn't that sound awful and disgusting, like a dog or something? Or like we are these hideous Neanderthals, hunkered down over huge, heaping bowls of hash-like mashed food, shovelling it into our maws while watching Wheel Of Fortune. Ugh.
But it's not like that at all. Once, I made lemon orzo topped with a mixed baby greens salad and roasted shrimp drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. Or I make a nice stirfry with chicken or beef and a lot of fresh vegetables over rice. Or campanelle pasta with ham and asparagus and asiago cheese dressed with sage and mushroom olive oil. Or grilled steak salad with balsamic vinaigrette (homemade, of course).
After twenty-plus years of cooking full course meals for the boys and all of us sitting at the table every night--which we all loved, don't get me wrong--it's nice to have such casual meals for just Rick and me. And cleanup is so easy.
But my guilt stirs every so often because we aren't at the table, like civilized people. I'm not serving separate meat, veg, starch, salad. I mean, when we lived at home and ordered pizza for dinner when Dad was working the 3-11 shift, St. Patsy always made a veg and a salad! With carryout pizza!
Do you see how deep it goes? Save me.
Ever since we became Empty Nesters, Rick and I have really appreciated a more streamlined, simpler life. We eat dinner and watch the news. We chat and laugh. Simple pleasures. What could be wrong with that?