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Can We Stop Calling Them Guilty Pleasures?

 Midlife should be more than mammograms, edifying nonfiction, and sensible shoes. Kim Tackett agrees, and encourages you to revel in the small treat, the shameless weekday pajama-wearing, and an on-purpose viewing Joan Rivers on Fashion Police. What are your guilty pleasures? Read more from Kim on her blog, Fifty Fifty Vision.

We all have a few secrets. Some aren’t for sharing. Some are for sharing with a trusted few. And some get spilled on the Internet, in spite of the fact that one could lose all credibility and respect.


Secret: I pour over the best and worst (especially the worst) dressed lists after every entertainment awards show. I’ve never missed Project Runway, and I check in with Tom and Lorenzo daily. I watch Scandal, eagerly anticipating the moment when Olivia Pope will splash coffee on her more-fashionable-than-the-rest-of-us white coat or spill red wine on her cashmere lounging outfit.

Fact: I may be the least fashionable person you know. My interest and occasional obsession in celebrity dress up makes no sense. My idea of private hell includes having to wear a formal gown. Add high heels and you’ll never see me again. I only wear spillproof fabrics.

I also love (seriously love) the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I am a feminist. Yes, I know that doesn’t compute. But I have loved that movie, and every song in it, for most of my life.

While I am giving it all away, I have more Neil Diamond CDs than any other artist.

I am thrilled that TV binge watching is now a “thing” because I am really good at it.

I believe my little not-so-secrets are considered ‘guilty pleasures.’  I’ll bet you have a few, too. And no, I am not referring to doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in pen, a small piece of fair trade dark chocolate every three months, or collecting marathon running medals. I am talking about the lowbrow and embarrassing stuff you do when no one is looking, but you’re feeling the need to indulge. If you’re hiding, then it counts.

Putting Junior Mints in your movie popcorn (and the popcorn itself, if you didn’t hold the butter), staying in your pajamas all day (double points if you have morning and afternoon pjs), and gourmet ice cream for one. Toss in a pile of glossy magazines, an arsenal of nail polish, and rescheduling life around the Survivor finale (we just finished Season 28, if you’re watching along with me), and you’re talking my language.

But let’s make a deal with each other. Let’s stop calling them guilty pleasures and re-frame them as deserving treats.

A treat that we made it though the day, the week, the year. Or even the commute, the conversation, the project, the meeting, the event, and the ridiculous never-ending list of chores.

Something else. Let’s skip the part where we have to earn them.

We have earned them just by making it this far. We have worked and wiggled our way to fifty-something, with a few failures, some disappointment, and more sweat and tears than we care to admit. This life journey stuff is a bumpy path. We’ve been supportive and strong, and we’ll continue to be so.

Sometimes we just have to be silly. And we need to waste a little time. Enjoy a little sparkle, taste a little sweet with our salt, and laugh at a bawdy joke. We need to sing with our outside voices with no apology. We need to give our brain, our better judgment, and our inner critic a break.

So while I may not admit to the world that I own  seven pairs of slippers, I’ll admit it to you. Perhaps not with pride, but also without guilt. Now pass the nail polish and let’s get to the fun stuff. By the way, have you tried truffle salt on your popcorn?

Kim Tackett

Kim Tackett blogs at Fifty Fifty Vision. She’s 56 and is a proud and enthusiastic Northern Californian, living in Davis, where she is powered by coffee, new projects, travels, and her family, which includes her husband Steve, and her two fiercely independent daughters (ages 26 and 20) who are carving their own paths far away from home. This is handy, as Kim is an emerging writer who is diving deep into the midlife ecosystem. Kim is a marketing consultant at the company she owns with Steve, Tackett+Barbaria. When she can steal a moment, she’s wandering, writing, and figuring out what’s next.

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Kim Tackett

Friday 13th of June 2014

Lisa, I am three hours behind you…but I'll catch up. And you know, the truth is, I don't think most of us do feel guilty. Enjoy!

Lisa Shab

Friday 13th of June 2014

Absolutely! Why should we feel guilty about these things we enjoy now?! I love this piece! And I toast you with my glass of red wine which I am happily drinking just 'cause!

Joan Stommen

Thursday 12th of June 2014

These are wonderful need to feel guilty! I tell myself I'm worth it for first release real books at Costco every Tuesday, a pumpkin spice latte now and then.....because they're seasonal and also my reward each Sunday after sunday school class! Thank you for this fun, clever post about your 'secret's......well done,Kim!

Helene Cohen Bludman

Thursday 12th of June 2014

Yep, you nailed this one, Kim. We've reached the age where we shouldn't have to apologize for doing what we want. Funny, I've always kept under wraps that I'm a Howard Stern fan for many years and yes, I watch the Kardashians. So sue me.

kim tackett

Thursday 12th of June 2014

Helene, I won't tell anyone, I promise!

Walker Thornton

Thursday 12th of June 2014

I totally agree; I doubt men use the term 'guilty pleasures'. I have my indulgences; watching tv and doing needlepoint in my pjs all day long is one of my favs--doesn't happen often enough. Why feel guilty for using my own time the way I want to?

kim tackett

Thursday 12th of June 2014

Walker, You may have the perfect trifecta there!

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