I can’t keep secrets. I’m a last minute shopper. I love Christmas, I live and work in the retail sector, I see bargains come and go throughout the year, yet my Christmas list remains unchecked til the last week before December 25.
As part of my life’s philosophy of Living in the Moment, known by some as Mindfulness, my motto is Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. This means that I (try to) value, love and enjoy every day of my life as though it were my last. Even the bad, sad or crappy ones.
I have this philosophy for a couple of very important reasons. One of them is inspired by my mother, whose life was cut short by a terminal and debilitating illness at the age of 56, and the other was seeing my step-father succumb to the same fate. These people spent twenty years of their lives in reclining lounges and wheel chairs. They didn’t get out much. They couldn’t travel. Shopping remained one of my mother’s few joys up until about the last 5 years of her life.
By contrast, I am healthy. I am well. I am active. I have all my faculties working (my kids may dispute this fact but they’re not writing this piece, I am). It makes me grateful. Grateful to have choices. Grateful for each ache or pain that tells me I’m overdoing work or that I’ve spent too long weeding the garden. I’m grateful that at the moment I have a massive cut on my finger from manoeuvring a knife the wrong way and it hurts. Because it’s a reminder to me that I got that cut by being out and active and in the slipstream of Life.
Buddhists say that ‘life is suffering’. I figure that if the worst thing I have to suffer is the occasional back ache, sore finger or concern about money (and who doesn’t), then my life isn’t too bad in the ‘suffering stakes’. I’ve seen real suffering and it’s not here.
So, getting back to Christmas. I’m hopeless at buying gifts halfway through the year. I can’t keep a gift from a loved one. If I see them now, I want them to have it NOW. Next week, next month, in six months, might be too late. I’m a last minute shopper because I’ve already given people my gifts of myself and love and affection and things I think they’d like throughout the year, for no particular reason other than I want them to know I love them, and I want them to enjoy my gift NOW.
It’s hard to come up with new and exciting gifts for December 25 when you live like this. The whole gift giving thing on one day of the year is kind of against my philosophy, it doesn’t sit easy with me. The Hubster is no better. Birthdays when our children were young was murder for us. We were as bad as each other. We’d take turns saying “Go on, give it to him now”.. One of us had to be strong, so we’d take turns at that too. Somehow we got through it!
Is there a gift under your tree for someone special? Ever considered breaking with tradition and giving it early? To me, Christmas is every day of the year (especially when my Strawberry Net order arrives). Now I’d better get down to making that list…
ps, some eco-friendly advice: