Giving Gifts

Brian and I were spending way too much time (as usual) walking through Homegoods last weekend when I saw a canvas with a quote that caught my eye:

Screenshot 2017-12-21 09.40.27

The quote really resonated with me and got my mind going down several different paths. Obviously with the Holidays upon us, gifting is abundant. Personally, I’ve always been big into giving gifts. I am not naturally good at verbally communicating my appreciation for people, so I tend to do so via writing and gifting. I’ve always believed that the definition of a gift is accurate in that there should be no expectation of compensation or reciprocity. I have seen this in so many people all over the world. People dedicate their time to helping those less fortunate, even those they may not really like or love, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Obviously giving something to other people makes us feel good too, but there have been some challenges to gifting that extend beyond the self-gratitifcation rationale. Some sociologists have argued that there is an inherent expectation of reciprocity when people give gifts (example here). I’ve read though some of these concepts, and while they may be valid for a certain sub-set of people, I don’t believe they are the norm. I have seen way too often people step up to help people without expectation.
Like the woman who held a stranger in her arms for hours after he was shot in Las Vegas. 
Like the homeless man who turned over a backpack with $42k in it to the police. 
Like the single mom who paid the bill for some government employees who weren’t getting paid because of the shutdown.
I’d prefer to focus on the many people in the world doing things for others or giving gifts to others without expectation and use that as my inspiration. We may not all have the artistic talents of Pablo Picasso, but we can all use our blessings and gifts and share them with others. I hope you all enjoy your time with family and friends and enjoy the experience of giving and receiving gifts as gestures of love and appreciation.
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Perspective and Gratitude

(originally written on 9/28/17)

A lot of you are probably aware that the new Macklemore album came out, Gemini. I’m a huge Macklemore fan and am super excited because the hubs got me tickets to his show for my birthday!! I love a lot of the songs on this album and generally his music is pretty thought-provoking, but one in particular really struck a chord with me and the fact that Kesha’s in it was the icing on the cake.

This might be a little TMI, but about 5 and a half years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Molly. We had both recently had babies and often spent time each week consuming copious amounts of espresso and venting about our new crazy lives with kids. It was so nice to have someone to relate to and vibe with during such a changing time in my life. One day, the topic of our new “mom-bods” came up and we both took a moment to complain. I said something to the effect of “If I would have known this is what was going to happen to my body after having kids, I might have modified some of my wardrobe choices in my pre-kid years because at some point you can’t get away with certain wardrobe options.” She was like “YES!!!”. But then we both thought about it and we talked about how some day it’s only going to be worse. We’re going to get old and have saggy skin and not want to wear sleeveless shirts or dresses without tights, so maybe rather than lamenting about the past, we should let it help shape the present.
Perspective. It’s one of the two things the hubs says are the most important things in life. That and expectations.
The Macklemore song, The Good Old Days, tells a similar story. I recommend listening to it and thinking about how that perspective can impact your life. The official music video is here and the lyrics are below. Enjoy!
I wish somebody would have told me that
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days

I was thinking about the band
I was thinking about the fans
We were underground
Loaded merch in that 12-passenger van
In a small club in Minnesota
And the snow outside of 1st Ave
I just wanted my name in a star
Now look at where we at
Still growing up, still growing up
I’d be laying in my bed and dream about what I’d become
Couldn’t wait to get older, couldn’t wait to be someone
Now that I’m here, wishing I was still young
Those good old days

I wish somebody would have told me that
That some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
‘Cause someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days

Wish I didn’t think I had the answers
Wish I didn’t drink all of that glass first
Wish I made it to homecoming
Got up the courage to ask her
Wish I would’ve gotten out of my shell
Wish I put the bottle back on that shelf
Wish I wouldn’t have worry about what other people thought
And felt comfortable in myself
Rooftop open and the stars above
Moment frozen, sneaking out, and falling in love
Me, you and that futon, we’d just begun
On the grass, dreaming, figuring out who I was
Those good old days

I wish somebody would have told me that
That some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
‘Cause someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days

Never thought we’d get old, maybe we’re still young
May we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We’ve come so far, I guess I’m proud
And I ain’t worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I’ve got some scars, I’ve been around
I’ve thrown some pain, I’ve seen some things, but I’m here now
Those good old days

You don’t know, what you’ve got
Till it goes, till it’s gone
You don’t know, what you’ve got
Till it goes, till it’s gone

I wish somebody would have told me that
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days