Cookies for Dinner

It’s not just a pandemic thing

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I grew up only so that I could eat cookies for dinner if I so pleased. It was the main benefit to adulthood, as far as I could see.

Just as Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up, I didn’t technically wish to, either. I just needed the autonomy to put whatever I wanted on my dinner plate—that being cookies instead of lentils and Brussels sprouts.

And so I grew up. With wild abandon I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. In my twenties, my motto was: life is uncertain — eat dessert first! It was an easy stance to take with a well-functioning metabolism. And at first, it was deeply satisfying.

As it turns out, this wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle. Decades later, it’s clear that my parents were right about the importance of healthy eating — I’m fifteen pounds overweight, have an irritable bowel and intermittent low back pain, and feel far older than my actual age.

I owe my rough shape to poor eating habits. The reality of a slowing metabolism has socked me right in my doughy belly. Case in point: my toddler was searching for her beach ball which had rolled out of sight. Approaching me she said, “Here it is!” She lifted the hem of my t-shirt, fully expecting to find a beach ball hidden underneath. Imagine the disappointment we both felt at that moment.

Apparently, it’s true that you are what you eat: I can point to exactly where all those chocolate bars, sweet, iced coffees, and late-night bagels have surfaced.

In a terrible twist of irony, I must start parenting myself.

My mother and father don’t even get the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so,” because they’re unaware of the direct correlation between my diet and increasing decrepitude.

I find myself yearning for that plate of lentils and Brussels sprouts from my youth…