Just Because Again

At this time of year I usually recommend that you buy yourself something, a just because gift.

I got my just because gifts this week, to cover my birthday and Christmas as they come so close together.

Now before you run off and call me selfish, it is first of all, okay to be a bit selfish once in a while – hence the ‘just because’ gift. We spend so much time taking care of everyone else and forget that we are worthy of rewarding ourselves. The gift should be something you really want – not something you need necessarily, but something very interesting, unusual and you. It does not have to be practical. It can be silly. It can be anything that your heart truly longs for.

This gift you do not justify to anyone else; no need to explain why you got it, or how much money it cost, or offer all kinds of excuses for getting it or anything else to make yourself look small. Get the gift. Don’t tell anyone. It is yours.

It took me a long while to realize how important this is. It does not mean I don’t give to others, that somehow someone else I love is deprived. Good grief. But if I continually deprive myself of good things, things that make my heart sing, if only for a short while, I am giving myself a very clear message that I am not worthy, that I am less than others. Bah, humbug.

Too many years of this already.

Your gift can be anything that means something to you. An experience. A course. A seminar. A retreat. Vacation. Jewellery. Clothing. Dust collector. Book. Something you’ve wanted for ages ‘just because’ you like it, you want it.

Of course, don’t be silly and rush out and buy a Corvette unless you can afford it! But if a Corvette is what you want – then give yourself the gift of permission to have it, and then make plans to save, work, enter contests, whatever (nothing illegal here please) to get it.

I am a very frugal person, so it used to be very hard to buy anything new for myself without trying to find it already used or on sale, or to substitute a lesser value/quality item and tell myself it is good enough. Especially something I don’t need. Don’t you do that! The first time I bought something new, of high quality, at full price, I felt faint! It felt sneaky, but exhilarating. But, boy, did that change my outlook, and my confidence. So now I do the just because every year. It shows me I love myself. That I can do things. I can be someone. Someone worthy.

Let me tell you, owning nice things does a lot for your soul. Even getting one small item that is your hearts desire is worth it. Even if it is something you just look at once in a while. No it is not crazy.

If it doesn’t do the same for you, make you feel awesome, you are doing it wrong. Treat yourself like you would treat someone you are madly in love with and long to please and make happy, just to see them light up with joy and jump up and down and cry a little. Make yourself the giver and the recipient and see what happens.

If you want to get married but are alone, propose to yourself, get yourself a ring, marry yourself! (It has already been done by the way). If you love roses but think buying a dozen is an extravagant waste – buy yourself a dozen long stem beauties and enclose a sexy, make your heart sing love card. And put those lovelies in a big, bold, beautiful vase. Send yourself a Christmas card! You have to love and honour yourself – put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others. When you cherish yourself, watch what happens to your life.

You are worth it.

Cure the Introvert

I am an introvert. Can you please just leave me alone about it?!

Stop trying to make me an extrovert.

The latest is, us introverts ‘suffer’ from social anxiety disorder. Puh-leese!

First of all, I abhor labels. Labels belong on products like carrots, hairspray and toilet paper. Human beings are so much more than a character trait, and we can change hourly. One minute we are a snivelling, wretched mess, the next superman/woman. I refuse to be identified by a singular characteristic. What makes extroverts normal and healthy and the rest of us dysfunctional? It is bullshit.

Animals are sometimes solitary (and aggressively defend such times) and other times social. Feral cats spend evenings with their buddies, the day is mostly on their own. I watch seagulls who quite happily fly around all day where ever they please and then also quite happily congregate in huge numbers for an afternoon siesta. Animals choose how they spend their time and who with. We are no different.

Sometimes I am an extrovert, I like to socialize, the difference being, I can only do short periods of it, not 3 days of constant partying. I spend 90% of my time alone. So whereas my periods of socializing are anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours a few times a month, extroverts have the opposite schedule.

The differences between us are a matter of scale and preference. Neither is wrong or right, we are just different.

Calling introversion a social anxiety disorder puts an urgency on a trait that is quite normal for a great deal of people, and sets in motion the idea that we need to be treated and cured. It is NOT a disorder. We are NOT sick. Stop it!

Instead of beating us up, why not focus on our strengths, cut us some slack (i.e. stop making us go to office parties, do presentations, schmooze, share office space and the like). Let us decide if we want to participate. Making us be you is bullying.

You cannot change us. My Mother (God rest) tried to convert me into a social butterfly princess and caused me intense suffering, along with many well meaning work places and people who knew what was best for me.

So accept the fact introverts like to be alone most of the time. There is nothing to cure.

Time to Stop/Start

A lot of young millennials are out protesting and yelling at us ‘boomers’ about climate change. Pointing the finger at us and scolding and shaming us. Fine. Yes, we created problems. And yes, these problems are frighteningly real.

Every generation blames their parents for a bad world that they inherit. We got a mess from our parents, now you do too. There is always a big mess.

However, it is time to stop blaming us and take action, otherwise, you become just like us – endless talk and research and nothing gets done. It is time to mature and stop whining. It is my experience that protesting incites violence and results in minimal change.

If you want policy change, get in there, you are old enough to run for office. If you want a clean ocean, take a cue from Boyan Slat (The Ocean Clean Up), and get out there and clean it up! You want to protect the forests and wildlife – get out there and do it!

Your generation has many more opportunities, is much better educated than us, and has more innovative technology than we had. Just as we did beyond our parents generation. The best way to shame us is to do a whole lot better than we did with all the advantages we had.

Yes, there are very real problems and threats to our well being, there always has been, and yes it is a crisis. Stop yelling at us to fix it. Give us constructive workable solutions, like Boyan Slat (The Ocean Clean Up) and we can supply the money and experience. You have the imagination, innovation and energy.

Young and old, men and women and all cultures need to work together and create a great world to live in. Let’s work together. Stop ranting and start taking action. We will help.

Asleep But Still Functioning

I know that what I am about to write about is rather obvious to most of you, but for me it is novel. I equate it to having been unconscious and still functioning, walking around asleep but managing, and not being much aware of it.

Let me explain. For 2+ years I have been ill. I developed a condition that decreased my physical mobility to that of those lumbering ancient tortoises you see on the Galapagos Islands. While acutely aware of my new physical limitations, I was unaware of how much this was affecting my mental abilities. Not just my mood, but my perception and ability to do things, especially the mundane, so called easy tasks.

I noticed this as I folded my laundry this morning. For the first time in what seems forever, doing laundry seemed to go much faster and all my towels etc. were neatly folded. I marveled at the straight uniform folded pile of towels and how easy that went. A simple task that I struggled with, not just because my limbs were tired and hurting, but I was not able mentally to fold anything straight.

Perhaps this sounds ridiculous, I guess it does. As time goes by and I get better (thanks to big pharma), I am noticing how much trouble I had with mundane tasks for the past two years. Of course I was aware of how much trouble the big things were, like getting on and off a bus, sitting on low seats (ahem, toilets) and then trying to get back up, carrying groceries, even pouring a cup of tea! Physical things were exhausting and difficult to execute, even just standing for a short period of time was depleting. And managing a cane while trying to do all this was enlightening. All this gave me a new outlook and empathy for others similarly struggling.

But what I missed seeing was the mental struggle. Being depressed and moody was understandable. But losing some mental ability was startling. I was not thinking straight. My perception of the world was skewed. It was not a huge difference, perhaps not even noticed by others (or they were polite!), but now I am thinking like I used to, before this condition, without ever realizing I had stopped thinking like I used to. Very strange.

As I said before, we are very much chemical beings. The chemistry of our bodies and minds quite often determine our behaviour, thoughts and actions, and we are unaware.

I liken my experience to being sleep deprived. You think you are okay, but you are not. You do not realize how out of it you are until either someone points it out, or you discover it yourself as a blatant mistake you made in judgement and reasoning or in performing a task, much after the fact.

At any rate, I am back to being my very happy old self! I certainly missed her!