To Give, Yes, but To Receive?

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.

Deep Breath.

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.”

What piffle.