Escaping the post-holiday "I want"s
I'm feeling it as much as (or more than) my kids some years -- the post-holiday "I want"s. These come from such innocuous activities as talking to my friends, browsing Twitter, or looking at the Facebook photos of my community. So you got a Garmin, hmmm? I could have used one of those! A new iPad? Never mind that I already have an iPad (it's a work tool! I swear!). Somehow the fact that someone else got one for Christmas puts my own gifts in stark relief. Let's just say, regarding my Christmas take, that "modest" is an understatement; though yesterday I felt warm and happy and loved thanks to just those modest tokens of generosity.
And those photos of Christmas dinner! My parents us invited us to their house for my mom's longed-for new "tradition": cooking a lasagne for Christmas dinner. But we didn't have transportation and, well, Thanksgivingtime was oh-my-god-stressful. We had dinner at home (roast pork loin and apples from my tree -- which turned out fantastic, and easy to boot, and all out of the pantry or freezer so there was no new expense: frugal!). So when I opened Instagram to bountiful pics of rare roast beef and fancy wines and well-dressed families around a big (and, note: clean) dining room table, well. My heart twisted a little with the desire. I ate on (lovely) thrift store plates while watching Leverage with the boys who hadn't fallen asleep yet. I drank tea.
My kids want a Beyblade top, each. They want 2000 or 3000 Nintendo coins for new games. They want another remote control for the Wii (the big present my husband bought this year -- against my early best judgment). I wish I'd got them Legos -- not in the budget this year. They want more gummy bears and to go to Starbucks and to order pizza. I want new yarn and a new pair of running shoes and wouldn't it be nice if I had some new books to read?
I don't have the money for any of it (well, maybe the gummy bears, but I said "no" on principal of "too much sugar already"), so I'm having to take a deep breath and get away from the wants somehow. Here are a few ways I escape:
- Going for a run. Even if I don't have the latest gear or running shoes without hundreds of miles on them, running clears my head and gets me wanting only more running.
- Reading a book. I know, I'd like new books! But I have a bunch of old ones that could enchant me perfectly.
- Organizing something. I have any number of corners and shelves and whole rooms which could benefit from a deep clean and organization. And I always discover things I (or the kids) have forgotten about -- satisfies the "I want" urge too!
- Make something new out of something old. I have a pile of pants to patch or hem, and an equal pile of old clothes and thrifted bits of things ready to be used for something. I made a couple of pretty potholders out of some old quilt squares of my grandma's, and that was ridiculously satisfying -- and quelled my desire to buy some potholders with graphic (and brand-new) fabric.
- Give something handmade or unneeded. It's amazing how giving something to someone else can reduce your wanting for things. Something about how generosity fills you up instead of shopping. Is that a real thing? Oh well. I like it.
- Practice. What is your practice -- a musical instrument? Yoga? A foreign language? A craft? Meditation? Prayer? Calligraphy? Knitting? Or even, just seeing the world around you? Practice it. Become the person you want to be.
- Asking yourself, what would I do with a gift of time? Remember when I had that day alone? Almost all of the things I wanted to do didn't involve any expense, and none of them were acquisitive. Your ideas were equally nonmaterialistic. Consider this time a gift, and use it accordingly. (And if you can get a spouse, family member or friend to give you a truly free, kid-free amount of time, do one of those amazing luxurious things!)
Now: to practice what I preach. Off to sew, run, and organize my kids' book nook!