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.