This I Believe

grace - havertown, Pennsylvania
Entered on September 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: pleasure
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in doing what makes you happy, or in one often-negatively-connoted-word, indulgence. It might sound selfish, or superficial, but sometimes the best happiness can be found in the form of new clothes, calories, or lazy hours lying in bed not doing much of anything. Religion, parents, and nutritionists may argue against serving yourself too much, but they cannot stop people from occasional self-gratification and pampering. The problem is what happens after our understandable slips from sainthood. Who hasn’t heard someone bemoan that he or she ate too much at dinner? Often, the over-indulger immediately begins to count the offending grams of fat already digesting in his or her stomach. Listening to one of these rants is enough to make me lose my appetite. As a college student, I constantly listen to my friends beating themselves up about hours spent at a party, or sleeping, when they should have been studying or writing a term paper. I want to tell these people to stop regretting. Life is short, and college is even shorter.

I will admit that sometimes after a trip to the mall, I silently scold myself about how much I spent, and I obsessively worry over my dwindling bank account. I also feel guilty that I have so much, and some have so little. Then I have to remind myself that my new heels make me happy. Furthermore, in all the time I spend regretting every dollar, I could be doing a million other things – like working, studying, hanging out with my friends, or helping others.

Some might argue that those others I could be helping should come first – before that self-indulgent trip to the mall, or the marathon of Grey’s Anatomy. I agree that there is much to be said for giving to those who don’t have the means to indulge. Dedicating time and money charities can be very fulfilling. Some people might be able to find joy in working at a soup kitchen or teaching children to read; I look up to and commend those individuals. Many can’t say that community service perpetually sits at the top of their to-do list. I think that deserves respect as well, not endless regrets.

Have another piece of cake, sleep in another hour, and watch just one more episode. Stop regretting not doing your homework and actually do your homework. Or go have a snack and then start your homework. I certainly won’t judge you. Sometimes the pleasure gleaned from an indulgence is just enough to motivate you to do what you should have been doing. As long as you aren’t wasteful or stealing from someone else, enjoy the time and things you have now – you might not always have them. As long as you aren’t unhealthily overweight, in major credit card debt, or in danger of failing class, then I fully support you if you want to indulge from time to time. This I believe: make yourself happy, then go out and share that happiness with others.