Have you eaten dessert yet?

Have you ever found yourself denying a simple pleasure or postponing something you truly desire, waiting for the ‘right’ moment that never seems to arrive? This thought crossed my mind as I rewatched the movie ‘Remember Me’ one Monday evening. I tend to choose films based on my current mood, letting it complement my feelings. So, if I’m already in a state of deep sadness, why not embrace it instead of seeking amusement in a comedy or diving into the complexities of a serious film? A tearjerker seems perfect when tears are already on the horizon, helping me delve into the protagonist’s grief and sadness.

One scene in the movie caught my attention, where the character Ally orders dessert in a restaurant before the main course. I remember watching it years ago and dismissing it as silly and banal. But now, I see it differently. It made me ponder how many times I’ve denied myself pleasures that may never come, how many ‘desserts’ I’ve left untouched in my life.

"I just don't see the point in waiting, what if I die on the main course […] I can […]die without experiencing the thing I wanted the most."

Ally Craig, Remember me

During one of my therapy sessions, my psychotherapist shared an insightful perspective: if something irritates us, there’s a reason behind it, and it’s an area worth exploring. This notion particularly struck a chord with me when I considered my reaction to a scene in the movie ‘Remember Me.’ It was a moment of revelation, sparking a shift in my understanding.

In this scene, the character Ally orders dessert in a restaurant before her main course. I remember watching this scene years ago, dismissing it as trivial and feeling irritation toward the character’s unconventional choice. As I reevaluated it, I recognized my underlying emotion: jealousy. I envied Ally’s ability to confidently break free from conventions and rules. For years, I had adhered to the opposite pattern – starting with the starter, moving to the main course, and when it was time for dessert, there was no room left. More often than not, I never allowed myself to claim the ‘prize’ I’d eagerly anticipated.

This pattern extended beyond culinary experiences. While planning my day, I would habitually structure it to fit in all my obligations first, with the hope of enjoying a well-deserved rest afterward, whether it meant going out with friends, watching a series, or reading a book. Sadly, when the time came for my ‘reward,’ I often lacked the energy to indulge. I willingly bid farewell to the anticipated pleasure, guided by my own self-imposed standards.
Subconsciously, I adhered to the same pattern for many years, withholding pleasures from myself until I believed I had worked hard enough to deserve them. This self-denial stemmed from feelings of unworthiness. There were instances, like my grocery shopping, where I’d deny myself more expensive products, citing that I hadn’t yet earned enough to afford them. This self-deprivation was irrational, considering that I earned enough to enjoy salmon regularly. In stark contrast, I would readily buy expensive and frivolous items for my husband simply because he desired them, never questioning the cost. It never crossed my mind that some things might be ‘too expensive.’

I fondly recall the day when, as part of my therapy homework, I had to write down five things I believed I deserved, and then I had to inscribe in my journal, in my own handwriting, ‘I allow myself salmon; I deserve salmon.’ It seems humorous to me now, but back then, this was a significant step in confronting a challenging issue that had felt impossible to overcome. Throughout my life, I had repeatedly denied myself simple and sublime pleasures, all while punishing myself for not achieving what I deemed as ‘enough’ or ‘perfection.

I know of an elderly couple who committed their entire lives to grueling, often near backbreaking labor in pursuit of building the house of their dreams. They invested their own hard-earned funds and adamantly refused credit. This arduous endeavor spanned over two decades. Upon its completion, they discovered themselves in a state of frail health and advanced age, rendering them incapable of tending to the dream garden and cherished home they had envisioned.

Similarly, I’ve encountered a middle-aged married couple who deferred their decision to have children in anticipation of achieving career success and financial stability. When they finally felt ready, they encountered an unfortunate reality – they could no longer have children.

Throughout my life, I’ve witnessed countless people presented with numerous opportunities by life itself. However, they perpetually waited for something ‘better,’ which, regrettably, never materialized.

Likely, each of us harbors a metaphorical ‘salmon’—a desire or dream we believe we don’t truly deserve. Many people aspire to ‘eat dessert first,’ metaphorically speaking, yet they remain in a state of perpetual waiting, anticipating some unknown permission, rule change, or an ideal ‘better time’ in the future. They await the arrival of a ‘better tomorrow.’

But the question we must ask ourselves is, what are we waiting for? The truth is, there’s nothing to wait for. Every day offers a perfect opportunity to savor the ‘dessert’ of life, right here and now.

„Everything we do in life is irrelevant, but it is important to do it, because no one can do it for us.”

Tyler Hawkins, Remember me

Organize your life.

The first publication in the Untold product series, created to share methodology for organizing everyday life, cultivating systematic discipline, and developing proper habits. Drawing from the author's experience, knowledge, beliefs, and commonly available coaching tools, she aims to inspire you to take action and present you with a straightforward approach to achieving fulfillment and building self-esteem. Written in a simple way, it contains examples from everyday life, practical tips, exercises, and beautiful graphics. Available in e-book and audiobook.

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