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I had a conversation with a friend this morning that has become quite traditional for me at this time of year. It’s my birthday on Sunday and obviously Christmas a couple of days after and I’ve come to dread the days leading up when people say to me “What do you want for your Birthday & Christmas?”
What do I want?
And that’s usually as far as it goes. And this friend today pointed out that that’s a really good way of avoiding receiving anything. *And* that that is a hugely selfish position to put oneself in. I know the joy of giving. And I withhold that joy from people around me by making it hugely difficult for them to give. I want to keep the giving all to myself. Yuk!
I was encouraged instead to “Get ready to receive like hell!” and make a list of things I’d like to receive. Yuk! again! Yuk! I would do anything to avoid this. I do anything to avoid being given to, but then end up wondering why I don’t have stuff. I’m avoiding it now by writing about it instead of doing it.
Now of course, I let go of a lot of “stuff” when I went on the road, but now I’m settled again, there are things that I need and want that are associated with that lifestyle. I think I’m cured of accumulation for its own sake, but for the last five months I’ve been a bit needless and wantless.
See how I’m still avoiding getting down to it. It’s painful, isn’t it? I really want to slip out of doing this and get on with working out what I can give to others, but the truth is that this is a time of exchange, not one-way flows. I don’t have a problem with giving, I have a problem with receiving, so that’s where my attention needs to be.
I’ve got a high-level list of spending categories from times when I’ve had plentiful income and when I look through that, I find that there are things I want. And if I let go of the idea that anyone at all might be interested in this list and might act upon it, I can trick myself into typing it out and posting it to the internet.
I’d be really grateful for:
- a bedside table (or a TV stand to replace the bedside table that’s currently holding up the TV!)
- a really nice solid writing desk
- a warm blanket that feels like it’s mine
- bed linen in dark warm coloursn
- a thicker duvet
- my bed back from storage
- curtains for the bedroom that really blackout
- a blender
- a roasting tin that fits our little oven
- measuring cups and a measuring jug
- kitchen scales
- a little one-cup coffee filter like Laura’s got
- some more plants for the flat
- homebase/IKEA vouchers (!)
- a big (no really, probably bigger than you’re thinking) whiteboard
- a lifetime’s supply of whiteboard markers & wipers
- a noticeboard for the hall
- a generous, dark, soft fleecy/velvety/corduroy beanbag
- HD storage for home media
- big chunky headphones
- my turntable and amp from storage
- a desktop PC that’s less than 5 years old
- a movie-quality video camera with good sound
- new glasses (spectacles) – last time I bought new ones was 1996 that’s too long.
- a case + screen protector for my phone (HTC Desire S)
- good smells – there was a time when I wouldn’t have dreamed of going out without suitable aftershave, but I have no idea what suits me these days.
And that’s what just comes out when I give it a little thought, I’m sure other things will dribble into my consciousness.
My standard answer is “Oh nothing, I don’t need much.”
East Street is the A24 going out of Epsom. For the last couple of days it’s been almost empty at 6 o’clock because the road was covered in snow and no-one seemed to be going anywhere anyway. It’s been nice walking along with no traffic. Today seemed to be the day that people either thought it was safe enough to drive or decided that they couldn’t get away with another day off. Either way it’s back to normal, and we should be glad, right? We should be glad when things get back to normal. So I am.