I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
It was a perfect setup. The kids got all the candy they wanted, and I got even more. Let’s forget for a moment that I was a grown man who had a bank account and money to buy enough candy to put me into a diabetic coma.
Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.
– Fast Eddie Felson “The Color of Money”
For years, we had a rule, my kids and I. On Halloween night, they could eat all the candy they wanted. But, like a pre-teen Cinderella, when the clock struck 9:00pm the party was over. Whatever wasn’t consumed by nine got confiscated. Don’t judge me too harshly. We had 13 kids at home. We were willing to deal with the sugar rush for one night, but not for a week on end.
And it worked out good for the kids too. If they knew that they only had a couple of hours to gorge themselves, they were going to focus on eating the good stuff, the Snickers and Butterfingers, the Reece’s and M&M’s. They were not going to eat the $0.50/lbs. wax chocolates. Or the doctors-office suckers.
After nine o’clock, we sent kids toward bed and sorted what was left. My lovely wife would bag the remaining sweets and set them aside to be doled out in lunches over the next few months. I would scoop up the remaining good stuff and enjoy candy, which if not exactly won, was also not exactly earned.
My kids have mostly outgrown trick-or-treating. The youngest are 13 years old now and are more interested in attending parties tonight than they are in going door to door to beg for free food. And it’s been several years since we were able to convince them to voluntarily yield their hordes of Almond Joys, and Baby Ruths.
But, even if they did, the joy has gone out of it for me. I grew up.
Several years ago I decided to change my lifestyle. I quit drinking soda. I started taking the stairs. I started eating breakfast. And I cut way back on my sugar intake. At the time, I thought, “If I’m not going to eat as much candy, I’m going to make sure I only eat the good stuff.” I adopted the Halloween philosophy that we had used with our kids. Cadbury and other high end confections became my go to vice. But, soon even the Ghirardelli chocolates lost their flavor for me. I cut out almost all candy. And invariably when I “treated” myself to a candy bar, or other sweet, I was disappointed. I lost my taste for it. I dropped candy completely several months ago.
Make no mistake, this is a good thing for my health. While I still occasionally have a piece of cake or indulge in an ice cream, my lifetime love of candy has come to an end. More than anything it feels like I’ve lost a piece of my childhood. It’s also not like I am denying myself. This isn’t some massive test of willpower where I staunchly turn away from the siren call of the candy aisle. This is a change of heart. I can hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters with impunity. I’m not even tempted. My taste changes are complete.
So, why do I still feel like I’m missing out on something? Happy Halloween.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved