People tend to separate the things they like to do into two categories: their pleasures and their "guilty" pleasures. Pleasures tend to be hobbies and interests people openly talk about enjoying, like going to the movies, finding fun trails to hike, or spending a night out with friends and drinking mimosas with brunch the next morning; guilty pleasures, however, tend to be more secretive. They are what their name implies: They comprise of things people actually feel guilty for enjoying. If people speak about their guilty pleasures at all, it will usually be hesitantly, especially if they're caught partaking in them; most of the time, though, people will feel so guilty about these pleasures that they won't mention them to anyone. Ever.
For the longest time, I used to tell people that my guilty pleasures were listening to Avril Lavigne when I'm sad, getting two rounds of dessert from the dining hall, and pretending I was accepting an Academy Award before I drifted off to sleep. Eventually, though, I became tired of feeling embarrassed about the things I loved to do; sure, maybe listening to Avril Lavigne in 2016 makes me a bit outdated and reminiscent of the 2004 version of myself, but it's just as much a pleasure to me as going on a run or exploring a new city. For that reason, I decided to drop "guilty" from in front of "pleasure" when describing my love for Avril. There's no reason to be embarrassed by early 2000s pop music, and embracing it makes me much happier than rejecting it in front of other people.
There's no reason for us to apologize for liking the things that we like, so here are five pleasures no one has to feel guilty about. Life's too short; why waste it on unnecessary guilt?
1. Watching Reality TV
Everyone talks about reality TV like they're the only ones in the world who watch it, when in reality (ha ha), most people have indulged in this genre of television at some point in their lives. Whether it was back in the days of Jersey Shore and The Hills, or more recent staples like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Bachelor, we've all got our reality show of choice. Plus, why feel guilty about liking something so integral to pop culture?
2. Eating Chocolate
Listen, there's a reason people eat chocolate — chocolate is good. Chocolate is fulfilling. Some might even say chocolate is bae. But of course, chocolate is also not the most nutritionally sound food out there, so often people feel guilty for doing some damage to a bar of their favorite treat. But chocolate exists to be enjoyed, so why not go for it? And hey, let's not forget that chocolate has some health benefits when consumed in moderation, too. Sometimes when I find myself feeling guilty about eating too much chocolate, I like to counteract it with something healthier, like hydrating properly or actually eating my daily serving recommendation of vegetables the next day — but whether you do that. too, is entirely up to you.
3. Staying In On A Friday Night
There are so many Fridays in life — how could you possibly go out on each one? That requires a lifetime of Fridays where you spend money on alcohol, then spend money on drunk food, then spend Saturday curing your hangover, and then spend Sunday getting beer stains our of your favorite shirt. Staying in, meanwhile, means you get to watch your favorite TV show, eat all the chocolate (and not feel guilty about it!), get at least eight hours of sleep, wake up early and make yourself a hearty breakfast, and be productive the next day. Embrace the staying-in life when the mood takes you — I know I do.
4. Netflixing... Without The Chill
Everyone's been making a huge deal out of Netflix and chill ever since it became a thing, but some people really miss the time when "Netflix and chill" meant actually watched movies and relaxing. After staying in on Friday nights, my next big pleasure in this life is putting on Netflix and actually watching it, without the "chill." Not that there's anything wrong with "Netflix and chill," either — but ultimately, this one is about not worrying about your "number." And also watching some quality films and TV shows.
5. Keeping Track Of People On Social Media
In case you forgot, it's 2016, and most of the people in the world with access to the Internet are on social media. Most of those people have also used social media to check up on someone special. It could be an ex, a co-worker, someone they have a crush on, the significant other of someone they have a crush on, a professor, someone's hot mom — you name it. Now, don't get me wrong here; I don't think there's room for unhealthy, non-consensual, actual stalking of a person. But benign social media activity? That's usually OK, even if it's the kind that leads you to the black holes of the Internet.