Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that I delight in being a bad influence. Ice cream for breakfast? A new outfit you can't quite afford? A story you don't think you can write? I say go for it! I've introduced people to Firefly, Discworld, Neil Gaiman, Supernatural, and Doctor Who with wild success, and they even thank me! This is awesome.
You see, a large part of my life philosophy is to live for the moment and do what I want, when I want. Within reason, of course. I'm not binging or spending $500 on clothes in a day or anything. But little things, I'm fine with, and I have absolutely no shame*. I bought the X-Men movies a couple days ago, partly because of the Year of the Superhero project and partly because I enjoyed all three a lot. I don't care who sees me reading YA or graphic novels on the bus. I have worn a Jayne Hat in public. I like Lady Gaga. I think more people should be proud of what they like and take criticism of their tastes lightly. It's certainly made me happier.
Giving in to your desires is a good thing, in my books. You get in touch with yourself, you have fun, you relax, you release your inner child. Adults are supposed to be mature, busy, and responsible, and I'm all for that, too, but really, we can't be serious people 24-7. It's boring and stifling and stressful. We need to recharge, and what better way than to do something you want to and know you shouldn't, or something that embarrasses you. You don't have to do it in public if you don't want. I'm not going to treat the world to my lip-synched dances to ABBA. I have respect for my fellow humans.
This goes for writing as well. Paranormal YA may be hot these days and women's lit may be more socially acceptable, but if you really want to write horror-comedies, then do so and don't force yourself into a genre you don't enjoy. If you want to write a book with a half-centaur, half-mermaid pirate airship captain, go for it, especially if you're more excited about that book than the one you're working on.*** You never know what'll happen, and you'll be truer to yourself.
So next time you catch yourself saying, "No, I can't do that", say, "Yes, I can, why not?" and then don't answer the question. Play on that swing set. Buy that action figure. Attend that convention. Write that book. Enjoy yourself. Have fun.
*Actually, that's not true. I downplay my fannishness for my parents and I can't quite justify buying geeky tees because I can't wear them to work.**
** I'm totally buying a bunch for my book tours, though.
*** Except if Important People are expecting the one you're working on soon. Then start outlining the centaur-mermaid-pirate world and work on it next.