Monday, 29 November 2010
Obligations and Festivity
I've been heartened by how well received my honesty has been within this blog. I think I am about to find my honesty being rather less appreciated in this post though!
Firstly, let me deal with the first part of the title. Obligation.
One of the areas I've had to refine and improve since I got ill was my likelihood to try to do things out of obligation. This isn't to say that I wasn't already trying to remove obligations from my life before I got sick but it has recently become vital that I take it all a few steps further.
Now let's introduce festivity. I've always been seen as a bit of a grinch when it comes to pre-defined celebrations. Without wanting to roll around in self-pity or sound like I've just settled down on the sofa with Oprah, it's probably related to childhood. Life was scary and miserable most of the time but, because it was Christmas Day or my birthday, I suddenly had to 'be happy'. Naturally, I mostly failed at that ;) I hate that expectation being attached to how I feel or act.
I've also never been a huge believer in Christmas cards (i'm not religious) or Mother's Day etc. To me and my grinch personality, it seems obvious that we shouldn't need specific days to tell people they are important to us or that we are thinking about them. I therefore tend to avoid sending them and discourage others from sending them to me. Somehow, birthdays are slightly different for me as I've always felt it's important to acknowledge that individual day of significance. So, my rules are both grinchy and inconsistent.
It's that time of year when others are starting to ask for addresses to be exchanged and, although I have no problem with people knowing my address, I'm struggling a bit with the concept of exchanging cards with everyone. The obligatory "it's nearly December, better write out some cards" just doesn't sit right with me.
And thus my dilemma. I'm aware this makes me sound like a joyless curmudgeon who sees Scrooge as a role model. I'm also aware that people are being amazingly considerate and sweet in adding me to their lists. I honestly don't want to offend anyone or remove the pleasure they get from 'giving'. Maybe I should just swallow my principles and join in the customary practice but then I'll end up feeling restentful. I'm not sure I can think of a perfect solution to this personal dilemma.
So, now you all know I'm a grinch. In spite of that, I still seem to care enough to identify it as a potential problem. Now, dear readers, this is where you come in. I'm really keen to hear the views of others on this and any advice you wish to dispense will be gratefully received (even if I don't end up following it!). Because alienating everyone I know each November and then starting all over again in January doesn't seem like a smart strategy somehow, lol.