You know when you have one of those visions of pudding? You don't want just a little biscuit or a bit of chocolate - you want a great big gooey pudding, laced with cocoa and brimming with sugar and probably surrounded by a semi-solid moat of ice cream or custard. Yes, that one.
The kind of vision I have in the evening, when it would be madness to eat even a spoonful of the imagined pudding. And yet, I can taste it, I can see it, I can smell the gentle waves of euphoria baking off it as it sits, smug and irresistible, in the middle of the bowl.
It makes me think back to when I was only 20 and astounded to find there was such a thing as a pudding club at a local cafe. You could go and simply eat puddings, one after the other, with like-minded people who saw the other courses as short pauses before the main event.
In the bad old days, I would have eaten that pudding. Imaginary or not, I would have hunted down the calories and had them in chocolate or a packet of biscuits. The time of day (or night) would not have mattered. And the intention would have been to eat something so bad for me that I could prove, once and for all, this very night, that I was a person worthy of nothing more than disgust.
The joy of the pudding, the need to consume this beautiful concoction, would very quickly turn to this familiar and friendly disgust. Before eating, it wouldn't have mattered about the after: serial piggers are serial dieters also, and the after is pushed aside. Worry about it later! You can always cut down tomorrow and make up for it.
Life is the same, you know. Sorry, but it is. We rarely get away with extra puddings; we eat and savour and devour until we cannot bear to even look at the spoon let alone the food And we justify this eloquent self-destruction with the idea we can make it up later.
It doesn't matter what I do today or did last night, it only matters what I do tomorrow. Even though the calories of tomorrow are fat-free and the actions of tomorrow are still un-made, they are the only ones that matter. Today's pudding, today's silly, self-indulgent cruelty or lapse, count for nothing when measured up against tomorrow's assumed glory.
I am not advocating abstinence, though. If you abstain, you desire and if you desire you give in, sooner or later. That pudding you avoid now will happen sometime and when it does, the fall will most likely involve extra cream. The action you indulge in today can save you from worse ones tomorrow.
Like many things, life is about keeping the balance. Knowing when to give in and Pudding It Up is vital because without the treats, we can't appreciate the rest of it. It's no good torturing yourself for what you did: behave that way and you spend the beloved tomorrow full of regret and appreciating nothing.
And all of this brought on by pudding? No, not exactly.
All of this brought on by remembering things I haven't done, in favour of what I expected to be. I have had puddings and then not made up for it, just the same as I have avoided puddings and then the piety of abstinence has faded away in the knowledge that I have missed my moment of opportunity.
Remember to appreciate yourself and every spoon of your pudding. That way, you won't consume life for the sake of it, just to feel like you have accomplished something.
Live now, add custard, or cream, or ice cream. Enjoy every spoon and regret nothing. Then tomorrow, the actual tomorrow where you get up and are a real and actual person, remember you enjoyed yourself and go about the rest of it with a smile.
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