Saturday, October 29, 2016

What I want

So, the other night, while going over some gift ideas with my mom (The whole family gets together at Thanksgiving, so we generally pass the Christmas gifts to my brother and his family then - and it's easier for me to carry most of my gifts at Thanksgiving when it's a shorter break and I have more luggage space).

I have something in mind for my dad; I'm working on her present and also want to get her something I saw at the local gourmet shop. That place's selection may also yield up something good for my brother and sister-in-law, or, I got a fancy-foods catalog today that might have something good in it. (Other option: Vermont Country Store sells a version of the "original" Simon electronic game -not the weird Dyson loop one you see advertised on tv, but one like the old original we had as kids - and something tells me my brother would enjoy that). My niece is going to get a bunch of little knitted animal toys.Those are most of the people I exchange with; I'll figure something out for the AAUW gift exchange (maybe another pair of mitts; the ones I did a couple years ago were well-received and mitts are fast to make). The women's group at church decided several years ago to provide gifts for the local women's shelter rather than exchange gifts within the group, which I think is a good idea.

we don't do secret Santa at work. I kind of wish we did; we did when I was in grad school (it was an opt-in thing, you didn't have to do it if you didn't want to, but I always did, because it was fun). The best part of it was getting the gifts onto the recipient's desk or where-ever without them catching you. Two separate years I had labmates as my giftees, and neither one of them guessed it was me until the reveal at the end. (And it was fun, but hard, to keep a straight face and act surprised when the recipient showed you the thing their secret Santa got them, and you're sitting there knowing it was you)

Anyway, I have what I am giving pretty well planned out.

But my mom asked me: do you have a list of things you want?

Oh, crikey. I find this hard these days because (a) I pretty much have what I NEED and often I wind up asking for things like replacement field jeans (but I don't even need those this year) or new shoes or something and (b) What I really want? Can't be bought by anyone anywhere.

So I don't know. I'm going to have to think. My parents are rather practical people so I don't feel totally comfortable asking, for example, for Ponies or similarly silly things. I don't need more yarn. I don't particularly need any specific clothes, other than maybe a new pair of dress shoes. I had thought of a pair of binoculars but I found my old pair and any way, the research I was planning on doing with them may be pre-empted by some other, potentially more important research. I don't need any kitchen stuff at this point. I'm not a "gadget" person and actively resist things like Fitbits because I know they will bring out all my latent compulsive tendencies.

And I already have too many books, though there is a new Cook's Illustrated book (the one about baking with less sugar) that I would sort of like.

So I'm going to have to think hard. (I can't quite bring myself to say something like, "Just make a donation to Heifer Project in my name" though I might get there some day)

What I really want?

1. More time. Time to do stuff for myself. Time to cook properly at the end of the day. Time to knit up some of the yarn I've accumulated, read the books I've bought

2.  Perhaps in place of #1: more energy. I do fold up pretty early in the evening and often spend time dinking around online because I have less energy and picking up my knitting or something seems like more work than I want to go to. (I lay a lot of this at the feet of all the antihistamines I have to take to fight the hives, and also the beta blocker.)

3. To feel more like....I don't know, like what I do is *enough*. I usually don't feel like what I'm doing is good enough, so I keep working on things perhaps past the point where I really need to. And I wind up doing things like going in to work on Saturdays (and not working very efficiently because I'm tired).

4. To be willing to take more risks with some things. I don't go out on a limb as much as I could with research because I'm afraid of sinking a lot of time into something and having it fail, and feel like I've wasted that time, and then being "behind" in getting publications or whatever out. And similarly, to feel like I could take more risks and try my hand at designing knitted things or quilt patterns, and not worry about "but what if it fails? I'll have wasted all that time on it."

5. More close-by friends to do stuff with. I realize every time I get to hang out with Laura how much I miss having a close-by friend who is kind of in the same place in their life as I am. Most of my close-by friends are much older than I am, or they are parents with teenaged kids, and the kids have to come first, so we rarely see each other. I probably waste so much time online because that's how I have contact with people.....

6. Just feeling like I had more skill. I play the piano, but badly, and it bothers me that I'm not better. (Or, maybe it's that I THINK I play badly and think I should play better - my teacher has never suggested I'm wasting her time or anything). But I wish I were better at it. I wish I were better at doing research and writing it up, and didn't feel so much like "I have no idea what I'm doing." Even stupid stuff like  being better at applying make-up. (I don't wear much partly because of allergies but also partly because I suspect I'd badly mess up a "smokey eye" or something like that and make myself look like I lost a fight). I wish I spoke German better - I know a lot of the vocabulary but still find sentence structure baffling, especially for things like reflexive verbs or the past perfect. (And I wish I could get over the feeling of "You should be learning Spanish instead." Spanish would be more practical given where I live)

Some of that would be fixed by having more time. Some of that would be fixed by #3. 

1 comment:

Chris Laning said...

Chiming in rather belatedly to mention a book I've found very helpful: Feeling Good, by David Burns.

As many have pointed out, the real source of how you feel about yourself is inside you -- you are the only one who can flip that switch, regardless of what other people think of you. Working through exercises in this book is something I've found quite magical -- when I can convince myself to actually sit down and DO them, which for me is the hard part.

From an external point of view, I'd say: Hang in there, you're doing fine. The fact that you worry whether you're doing fine is a good indication that you probably are.