Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The old man is snoring

There's something really peaceful about waking up and hearing the rain pitterpattering outside your window. Of course, it's peaceful in the way that it makes you want to just roll over and go right back to sleep. It's almost 10 and I'm still struggling against the urge to curl back up under the covers. Not necessarily to sleep, but perhaps with a good book and a nice cup of tea. If I had a fireplace, I'd really be in trouble.

But instead, it is December 18th, and with long-distance relatives, I should probably be wrapping up some of my Christmas shopping today. Productivity and rain don't go hand in hand, but I am an evolved being who can go against her primal urges. Or something like that. That word "should" is a sticky one. I strongly believe that doing things because we "should" do them leaves us often doing them for the wrong reasons. "Should" implies that there are expectations we are attempting to live up to, quite often our own, but that we don't really want to be doing these things. So I have to ask myself, do I really feel like I "should" finish up that Christmas shopping today?

When I look at it a little more closely, I see a few things going on here. First, there's the "should" of buying presents. The good news is, I really like to give things. I get a lot of joy out of giving. Especially when you get to give something that either you really like (ideally that they like too) or that they've really been wanting. There's warm-and-fuzziness in that. My ideas this year run the full gamut of things I'm really excited to be giving to things that the person really needs that aren't really very exciting to things that just express that I was thinking of them. You win some, you lose some. But overall I'm feeling pretty good about the gift-giving piece. Then there's the "should" of the timing. That really just comes from living 3,000 miles away from your family and having been on the receiving end of late, well, everything. I know I like to have things to open on the day of the gift-giving occasion, whatever it may be, and therefore I strive to get things to people on time. And energetically it feels good to follow the golden rule and do for others what you'd like to have others do for you. The last piece of the "should" is about finishing up today specifically, and that's a little more nebulous. I think it has something to do with not spending more on the shipping than you do on the presents. The truth is, I may have already missed the window on that, who knows. But I do know that I will feel better when everything is safely making its way east.

So I feel much more contented about the whole thing when I realize that there's no "should" about it -- I want to wrap things up today because it will make me feel good to do so. And if I don't, well, there's always tomorrow.

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