Life Is Too Short For That!

I was having a conversation with the wife of one of Will’s friends about what I read and she said something along the lines of “Ah yeah..I read some YA…gotta have those guilty pleasures.”  I know she meant it harmlessly, knowing her, but it still made me rage-y under the surface FOR SO MANY REASONS. I made a little comment about how my reading life has gotten BETTER since I started reading young adult and then changed the subject because I REALLY didn’t want to get into it.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been totally guilty of using the term “guilty pleasures”  back in the day. I used it when I read Twilight and when I first started reading YA in general. I used it when I liked watching certain reality tv shows. I think when I used the word I was trying to play it off like, “I don’t REALLY like this but it entertains me/is so addictive.” I think that when I used to say it, it implied that I should be embarrassed about it. That my tastes are beyond it. BUT I AM ADMITTING THAT SO IT’S LESS EMBARRASSING.

Sidenote: The thing is, in my head, I still THINK of certain things in that same box that I deemed “guilty pleasures” but I don’t feel GUILTY about them anymore…but don’t have a better phrase for it? There’s an array of tv shows/movies/books that fall in that category for ME. (I mean, really, some of the reality shows I’ve been known to watch??). What I mean, in some cases, I know it’s like JUNK FOOD but I still ENJOY IT. And that’s OKAY. (Also, I keep those things to myself so that I don’t make people feel bad if it is THEIR favorite and it’s my fun thing that I’m not being critical about though I could).

Back then I think I personally wasn’t confident enough to own what I was reading or watching so I felt like I HAD to offer up that “guilty pleasure” to justify it. Because I couldn’t just like it because I DID. I had some sort of image I wanted to put out there, I guess, and those “guilty pleasures” would somehow tarnish that.

But here’s the thing I realized after college….life is too short for me to pretend to like things I don’t like or denying myself things that I DO like. It’s too short not to let myself be 100% passionate about things I feel so deeply just because someone else might scoff at it or deem it not as worthy as something else.

I spent a lot of years in college doing just that. I pretended to like things I didn’t like just to fit in with the group of people I hung out with. I pushed aside a lot of the things I truly LOVED because I felt ashamed about them. I tucked away the true passions of my heart and snuffed out some of those fundamental things that made me ME. Because I didn’t feel confident to own them like YEAH I LIKE THIS SO WHAT? I cared too much what people thought and I let it dictate what I did/liked. And honestly? I kind of felt a little lost. I was happy but below the surface sometimes I felt like I wasn’t being the truest ME. Eventually I got to a really miserable point a year or two after graduating college where I was SO sick of living like that. Denying myself things I liked. Forcing myself to be interested in things I wasn’t.

So I just stopped one day.

I embraced all that I loved no matter what anyone thought about it. I stopped pretending to be into those things I wasn’t which was the biggest relief in the world — seriously NO MORE PRETENDING TO LIKE FOOTBALL. And I can honestly say I’ve felt more like myself than I ever have before and I LOVE IT. I can’t make up for the missed time when I wasn’t doing that but I will never ever let anyone, or my bouts of feeling self conscious, EVER let me feel guilty for the things I like.

So own your reading choices and all the other things you love. OWN THEM. Wear your love for it like a badge. Drop any guilt anyone makes you feel because I guarantee, when you are on your death bed, you won’t be regretting the fact you were confident with your choices and the things that made you YOU. You won’t wish that you hid them more and were less your self.

I could think of a million words that describe my reading choices — smart, fun, pleasurable, life-changing, evocative, etc- and let me tell you…no form of the word guilt is in there anywhere.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I concur! I think owning it applies to every aspect in life! Whether its your career choice or the hobbies that you love, you have to be proud of them cause they make you uniquely you. Back in college, I also experienced that phase where I chose things that I didn’t like just to fit in and ended up feeling miserable. Kudos to you, Jamie, for OWNING it! Loved this post!

    • TRUTH! It definitely applies to everything. I just hated pretending. It got old after a while and I was just like YEAH I’m done with this. Best choice ever.

  2. AMEN! Preach it sista!

  3. Great post, I know what you mean – there are still some things that in my head I think are ‘guilty pleasures’ but I really don’t feel bad about it anymore, what’s the point?

    A couple of years ago I picked up Twilight and decided to give the series ago after flat-out saying I hated it when I first tried it and I ended up really enjoying it the second time around. Anyway, my Mum and fiancé were joking that it was a guilty pleasure but my reaction was ‘So what? I’m enjoying it, I’m not going to feel bad about that’.

    • Exactly! Sometimes the label just sticks in my head. I feel ZERO guilt. So it can’t be a guilty pleasure haha.

      And AMEN. I had friends who made fun of me for reading and liking them back in the day and I was like OH WELL. I feel good about my choices so basically you are wasting your breath. SIGH what is with that…people trying to make others feel bad about what they like.

  4. I love this post for SO many reasons but mainly because I wholeheartedly agree. the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ aggravates me a lot because it’s used so much in the YA book blogger bubble and it kinda takes away from how amazing a great deal of YA books are. Just because a book is about teenagers doesn’t mean only teenagers can read it; just like adult fiction doesn’t come with a ‘you must b over 18 to purchase this’ sticker. You read what you love, what you take joy from, what makes you happy. And no one, no one should EVER make you feel guilty for enjoying something you love. So when people identify with that phrase themselves it’s kinda upsetting. Something you love isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s just a pleasure. Own it and don’t be embarrassed.

    • YES it really does…it makes YA (esp as an adult) feel like it is dirty and like we are lesser bc we can’t read BIG PEOPLE BOOKS.

      AMEN AMEN AMEN. It’s all pleasure here. I just love that we’re sitting over here happy as can be and all those miserable people STILL be wastin’ their time writing about what they think of YA. Keep being miserable, fools!

  5. I 100% agree with you! This is what I tell myself, too: life is too short to waste time hiding what I’m passionate about or pretending to care about something that I don’t actually care about at all. I wish I’d understood this when I was younger, but like you, it wasn’t really until after university/college that I saw the light. Great post!

  6. I have the same thing. I sometimes use the world ‘guilty pleasure’ because I don’t have another word for it, but I don’t feel guilty for watching/reading/doing it at all. We need to come up with another word. I don’t believe in ‘guilty pleasures’. If you enjoy something, you should claim it and be proud of it no matter what everyone else thinks about it. Why can’t we just let everyone free without making them feel they need to be ashamed of it?

    • YES we absolutely do need to come up with a word for those things that are our fun stuff…but we certainly aren’t guilty for. Like I KNOW THIS SHOW IS NOT QUALITY BUT DAMMIT I LOVE IT.

      And amen to that question! I don’t get the need to make a big deal about other people’s choices of what they like. I just always think about how miserable they must be really to do that. I’ll just sit here happy as can be while you spout out all the ways I should be ashamed. DON’T CUR.

  7. Have you watched Ava Jae’s video about guilty pleasures. She talks about not having guilty pleasures, just loving things for what they are. Thank you so much for writing about this!

  8. I typed a comment on my phone this morning and it didn’t post! Grrr. Starting over 😉

    Agreed! I always love your thoughtful blog posts. There is something about the word guilty pleasure; it took me a long time to embrace the things I love in front of other people (I used to wear my Gryffindor sweatshirt to high school and then try to hide it with my backpack), but now it’s like why not! I love reading YA and I’m not going to feel bad about it. I love watching cartoons and Disney movies and wrestling and Four Weddings, and a bunch of other “guilty pleasures”. Wish we could think of a better name! “Awesome stuff?” Haha.

    Twilight really is a good example. I LOVED the first three books when I read them, I even got the fourth at midnight (and ohhhh how I regret it. Such a terrible book). I describe them like reading US Weekly. I know they’re not high caliber but they’re fun, entertaining, and written well enough, and that’s all that counts 🙂

    • COMMENTING FROM MY PHONE IS THE WORST SOMETIMES. I FEEL YOUR PAIN!! (I appreciate you coming back to write it..you are too sweet!!)

      AWESOME STUFF. Pretty much!!! I honestly feel so much happier since I’ve stopped hiding all the things I love and am into. It’s so freeeeeeing.

      YES. And I feel the same. My one “guilty pleasures” example is Jersey Shore…I KNOW that show is awful. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. But omg I couldn’t stop watching it. Did I enjoy it? YEP. Whatevs. I could play it off like OH IT’S JUST MY GUILTY PLEASURE SO IT’S OKAY. But why do I even need to justify it?? I just enjoyed it…even though I know it is not something that is amazing! I have other things that fulfill the other parts of me that need something more high caliber haha

  9. I have totally been guilty of getting all rage-y when (nice! well-meaning!) people make dismissive comments about YA. I totally understand and relate to everything you’ve written here. Actually, I wrote a post addressing a very similar issue a few weeks ago, if you’re interested. No pressure to click, but if you are interested in reading it here’s the link!

    http://www.bookmarkdragon.com/2014/07/discussion-when-book-lovers-and-non.html

    • YES it’s so dismissive and it’s so hard for me to try to explain it to these nice, well-meaning people without getting all defensive haha. And thanks for sharing your link! Will def be checking it out!

  10. You speak so much truth here Jamie. With my current schedule and being super busy with graduate school when I get time to actually sit down and read a book, I choose to read what I want. In fact, my study-break book of choice right now is a YA book, and I’m really enjoying it. No guilt felt here! Life is too short to worry about what other people think about your reading habits. Read what you want and enjoy it! 🙂

  11. Hey there! I’m a new reader of yours. Love this post! I totally agree with what you’re saying. Not just with books, but with music and film as well. Why should any of us being limited to only like a certain genre of art or literacy??

    I’m 27 and I own a hardcover copy of “It Had to Be You” (a Gossip Girl book) on my bookshelf. And I’m so not ashamed!

    Keep writing (and reading!) 🙂

    -Shannon

    • Thank you for the kind words! Welcome to my blog! *offers you a drink* And YES…music and movies and tv as well! I tend to listen to indie rock/alternative kind of stuff bc I LOVE it. But then I started to be known as that girl…and I woudl feel embarrassed when I liked a pop song and then I was like WTF SELF STOP. WHO CARES? So I happily rock out in my car to Radiohead and Taylor Swift and my commute is ALWAYS fabulous!

      Glad to meet another adult who is not ashamed to read YA! 🙂

  12. When I first started blogging, I thought YA was for, well young adults. Teens. That was it. Case closed. I grew up in the age of Sweet Valley High books and the like and thought, well, that has nothing to do with me anymore. I couldn’t care less about high school drama and ooh someone wore the same shirt as me and wants my place on the cheerleading squad. Bah!

    Then some other bloggers eventually coaxed me into trying the newer YA. And, man, am I glad they did! The YA of today is SO much improved over the YA of my teen years. I barely cared about SWH then, so why should I now? But YA today covers universal topics that affect people at every age like the death of a parent, sexual assault, bullying, suicide, coming out as homosexual (or knowing someone who has). Then there is YA Fantasy which is all kinds of awesome. I mean I can take some high school drama and teen angst when they are also dealing with finding out they are a witch or they are really descendants of Nephilim or something.

    I am in my thirties and I don’t feel guilty about reading YA at all. On top of that, we should not feel guilty for reading PERIOD. Guilt should be left for those who know how to read but don’t, who have no advantage over those who cannot read.

    • I SO agree. I was NOT into YA back in the day (I read it when I was a little bit younger..as a teen I wanted adult stuff haha)…but YA has gotten SO MUCH BETTER. And amen…as an adult..I feel ZERO guilt because I know what YA is all about! And yeah..I never understand when people make fun of reading to make others guilty. SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD LOVE TO KNOW HOW TO READ!

  13. Preach! I find myself really not caring what others think of my habits as I get closer to 30. Just like you said, life is too short for that nonsense! With reading specifically I could care less what people think, it’s not like I’m reading aloud.

  14. Great post and yes, I feel the same. I used to think about romance this way and then I read a quote from Veronica Roth and now…I don’t care about it anymore and it’s a powerful feeling

    • It really is such a powerful feeling…not having other people’s validation to influence my choices in life. I cared way too much before.

  15. Bless.

    My new thing is “the heart wants what the heart wants” and I feel NO GUILT EVER.

  16. “But here’s the thing I realized after college….life is too short for me to pretend to like things I don’t like or denying myself things that I DO like. It’s too short not to let myself be 100% passionate about things I feel so deeply just because someone else might scoff at it or deem it not as worthy as something else.”

    This is pure gold! Thank you for saying it! I completely agree with you and I wish that everyone could read this quote (the whole post, really). I have used “guilty pleasure” as well to describe things and I always felt like I was compensating for something. I won’t be using it anymore!

    • <33 Aw thank you! I am really glad my post resonated with you! It's so hard because we all HAVE those things that are lesser than our normal standards and fit that "guilty pleasure" box. But it's like...hey..I FEEL NO GUILT. But then outside influences make us feel like we SHOULD feel bad. Like OH YOU ARE ALMOST 30 AND LIKE YA? OR TAYLOR SWIFT? ETC> ETC. But really…WHY SHOULD WE FEEL GUILT FOR SOMETHING WE ENJOY?? No more! *fist bump*

  17. Again, you get it! I feel the same way about romance novels. I use to hide them or be ashamed and now I’m like up I read romance and chick lit (a term I hate but books I love) and so what? I was also like this with outdoor activities in college – I wanted to be “epic” and climb, mtn bike, backpack because I thought that was what all the cool kids did…then I decided I really didn’t enjoy being so epic and that was okay and now I’m much more mellow but it’s a hard lesson to learn and accept.

    • YES def with romance and chick lit I felt the same way..like I should be ashamed! But seriously WHO CARES. Why should I?

      YES I have gone through similar things…trying to do all these things that weren’t me just because it seemed like these others were having a FUN AWESOME LIFE. But I wasn’t really into it. I had to be real with myself about it. It’s hard to learn that about ourselves and I will always be of the mind that I will try and try new things but I have to follow my heart.

  18. Oh man, I can see how that would have bugged you, even reading it. It just rubs me the wrong way. I get teased at quite frequently at work and I am constantly defending myself and my reading choices. Way to go though, for enjoying what you enjoy and not being ashamed of it 🙂

  19. I agree that “guilty pleasure” directly relates to feeling ashamed about reading something. (Which is what I felt when reading Twilight in public!) Once you can get over that shame (whether for music, TV, movies, or books), there’s really no reason for the words guilty pleasure to exist in your vocabulary. (Which is definitely a good thing!)

  20. I went through pretty much the exact same experience as you, Jamie. For a time, when I was younger, it was so easy to just be interested in certain things passionately and without apology! But there came a time when I was in my tweens/teens where I decided it was best to go with the flow, and pretty much just be vocal about the things I liked that other people liked too. But now, as an adult, I’ve decided to embrace what I love – whether it’s books, TV or music. And the best part? I’m a lot happier for doing so too!

Trackbacks

  1. […] months (including The Reading Police Do Not Exist, Yes, I’m Reading A Romance, So? and Life’s Too Short For That) discussing “guilty pleasures”. Guilty pleasures are basically defined […]

  2. […] Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner tells us why life’s too short for “guilty pleasures”! […]

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