Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The roommate got back in town from HER international trip (to the UK), yesterday. She brought me a nicer gift from her trip than I brought for her from mine, and in the smallness of my heart I resent this and feel a bit guilty and ashamed. After all, I went someplace more exciting =and= a lot cheaper than she did; why did I bring back so little for other people?

On the other hand... she has fewer people in her life; I've got more of a network to maintain, more people to consider giving gifts to. And I was working the whole time, not vacationing. And I don't like to shop and had to manage my stress and energy level in order to do the stuff that was really more important. And I had suitcase issues (extensive travel, mostly by myself). Besides, some people really appreciate a gift from abroad (from someplace they haven't been) but many do not.

So ... I've decided to let go of my guilt and focus on seeking OTHER opportunities to express generosity and gratitude. It's certainly possible to harness, redeem, or tap into our society's consumption-driven value system to, well, show love and gratitude. But there are lots of other ways to do that.

I think the reason this whole thing tapped into my insecurities is because of OTHER things going on that are tangentially related to managing money, maintaining relationships, or meeting expectations. I'm rather aware, just now, of ambitious commitments I've made or expectations of me (from various sources, generally unaware of one another) which are going to be hard to meet. I have too many things on my to-do list between now and the end of the year, and I feel a little angry at other people about that and at myself for letting it happen - knowing I will probably find that to-do list continue to grow rather than getting shorter.

So, this is a good reminder to deal with the emotional/psychological ramifications of things like that in an ongoing way - to notice what pushes my buttons and ask myself why something worries or threatens or upsets me. Then, to be diligent in identifying and dealing with my own reactions to those things, as well as the objective issues themselves.

Oh yeah, and to turn to God with all this stuff and yield it over to him!

BTW, I don't think Deb's at all disappointed that I didn't bring her back more. It's more an internal thing, for me - like a missed opportunity I have a hard time dealing with.

In other roommate news.... I think we're going to get a cat.


Paul Merrill said...

My in-laws have 3 cats & are moving into a retirement home. You want one of them? All nice & well-loved...

Marti said...

I'll mention it to Deb!

Dad said...

Anther question is "How much did you bring back for yourself vs. for other people?" That might raise the guilt feathers again. For myself, I figure that bringing back gifts is a waste of airline fuel.

Shane said...

I didn't get anything.

But I am wondering if I put things on your to do list unaware of what others had also put on your to do list!

Marti said...

But Shane, I was going to give you one of Paul's mother-in-law's extra cats!

Megan Noel said...

i got you something in SF, but only because it specifically reminded me of you and i thought you'd like it, not out of obligation. and i was saving the gifts i bought people for xmas anyway, when gift giving is less of a surprise! janusz says he wants the taxidermy otter statue we saw at the odd shop 'paxton gate' for his birthday -- but of course he is not actually expecting it since it is $750 and i do not think he really has a space for a stuffed otter -- how many people do, really?