Years ago, when I was pregnant, I wrote a humorous little cartoon book about the experience of being pregnant, and in particular all the things I’d been advised to do and not do. The do’s included:
- meditate and be calm
- play classical music
- eat a healthy diet
- take nutritional supplements
- drink more water
- sleep more
- do yoga, etc.
I have a long list of other daily ideals, including visualisation and affirmations and journal-writing and getting on the rebounder and stretching and hanging from my pull-up bar to unkink my shoulders and doing eye exercises and having some creative writing time every day and doing some sorting and some filing and clearing backlogs and tidying up my desktop and reading and doing a speed reading course so that I can practise speed reading and spending time in gratitude and I don’t know about you, but lovely and enriching as all of these things are, they can become a burden in themselves.
I’ve often thought that one of my more ‘unconscious’ friends is blissfully so - he’s just living day to day and not feeling frustrated that he isn’t doing all the brilliant things he could/should be doing to develop himself.
Enter heels and chocolate: I totally get the value of wearing flat shoes for the health of my feet and my back, and I totally get that heels are part of a social construct around beauty that is just a construct, a perception. I can't get about on staggeringly high heels – who really honestly can? – but I do enjoy a bit of a lift...
I also get that the jury still isn’t out about chocolate. Sure, we can drop words like ‘magnesium’ and ‘antioxidants’ so that we can justify keeping up the habit, and we can opt for raw cacao as much as possible, but there are still some who say we shouldn’t over-indulge in chocolate.
Nonetheless I’ve decided that much as I ‘should’ eat less chocolate and ‘shouldn’t’ wear heels, they are part of my enjoyment of life. They’re part of my ‘humanity’ too. I’m wary of becoming so correct that I lose my ability to simply ‘be' and even risk becoming superior to others. Much as there is a part of me that would love to master everything and tick all those boxes, failing and falling short keeps me humble and equal.
I discovered just a week ago another deeper aspect to this when I was offered something that I had denied myself in the past on the grounds that it would be greedy of me to have or even want one of these. I value living very simply and not making demands of people or the earth. I even felt shame at the thought of receiving it, and embarrassment that now, in my fifties, I should want one of these… And yet I did.
It’s something that is relevant to my new novel and the changes that have been occurring in my life since I wrote it. I’ll share some more soon. Meanwhile, what things do you do or eat that you ‘know you shouldn’t’ but that are important parts of life enjoyment for you?