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I don’t think guilt has many fans, alongside its nemesis pride, it pales in comparison. It is the unloved and unwanted emotion that refuses to let go. Especially if you’re insecure. Guilt will try to creep its way into any situation; guilty you’re not doing chores, guilty you’re not being more productive, guilty you’re not eating healthier, guilty you’re not doing more exercise, guilty you’re not good at your job.
OK, now I’m starting to think guilt has a point.
Take yourself to some physical extremes though, and you can rid yourself of guilt pretty quickly. Really sick? Ah, don’t get up, I’ll bring you dinner, I’ll do the washing. Sickness gives you the guilt free card. Pregnancy is another one, although I’m sensing a little bit of every day sexism here as this option only seems to be available to women. Us men always lose out*. Mentally ill? Nope, you must feel guilty. You must also work and do the exact same thing as a normal healthy person, because you’re Fit 4 Work aren’t you?
Voluntarily taking yourself to physical extremes actually produces the guilt free card as well. Enter a marathon, or a triathlon and you get a free pass. It is not as long-lived as say the pregnancy option or the (physically) sick option, but you’ll be good for a day or two. I have first hand experience of this, that guilt free moment when you cross the line after a mass participation event. When no one expects you to do anything; there’s no guilt to be found. I didn’t have to worry about food, walking, organising transport, money or anything in between.
That is apart from the time I completed the Budapest marathon and had to catch a train back to Vienna, on which there was standing room only. Finish a marathon – stand up on a train for 3 hours. Don’t get me wrong there was no guilt to be found anywhere – even about my extremely odorous unwashed post-marathon body perusing around fellow passengers. There was however an abundance of frustration, pain, anguish and despair.
I’m guilt free today, although I haven’t done any of the things mentioned above, including the dishes – and floor scraping. I’m extremely exhausted though and I think that gives me a generalised pass, no guilt for me, I’ve earned it. Not sure why I’ve earned it, maybe this is some kind of false guilt free time. All I did was go to work as usual and then come back. Where as, my girlfriend did a 5km run today, my brother did a 24 hour peaks challenge and my cousin did a marathon*. Can’t help feeling I’ve picked up someones guilt free gift card by mistake.
*This is called sarcasm, and in this case means I believe the opposite of that.
*There is of course a great way to overcome a lot of this guilt and that is to do the things which you feel guilt about not doing.
*Congratulations to my girlfriend, cousin and brother. So impressive.
P.S I live tweeted my cousins marathon today, if you want to check it out click here.