Tag Archives: birthdays

Belated Thoughts about Belatedness

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”  Dr. Seuss

If you are in my IRL circle of people whose birthdays I recognize, you may have noticed that I am nearly always late with the sentiments. If you have not yet joined that group, let me tell you, I am almost always late.

My son turned 21 the other day. I’ve known now since April 28, 1994 that he was going to be turning 21 on April 28, 2015, and even with 21 years advance notice, I still couldn’t manage to get anything in the mail. What to heck, as the kids say these days.

One reason I am late is I am always looking for the perfect gift. Well, looking might be too strong a word. I am always waiting for the perfect gift to magically fly into my house, wrapped, packaged with postage applied, in time to get there for the birthday. As I seem to do in a few areas, then, I procrastinate about it because the perfect gift doesn’t exist.

Another reason I am late is that I find gift-giving to be completely nerve-wracking. Maybe this is just an extension of the perfection excuse, but I don’t know anyone who needs another thing in their lives, including my own children. We are surely in the top few percent of wealth in the world, and we have everything we need, even though we can always find more things that we want.

I have serious baggage about gift-giving. And receiving. There are a few gifts that I have given or received that have been spectacular, and some of them have even been free. My graduating-from-college-THIS-WEEKEND daughter (hashtag ass PANTHER) created “Desperaux’s Recommendations for Their Mother on the Occasion of her Birthday,” which I will always treasure. That’s just one example. When I give someone something, I want it to be memorable, special, unique, and especially for them.

I believe where I get most hung up is in projecting onto the receiver what I imagine their response will be to my gift. I often imagine them being disappointed. And again I say, WHAT TO HECK.

Then there’s the aspect of who to give to, and which “insert category here appreciation day” requests to respond to. And then there’s Christmas for all the people, and end of the year for all the people, and that’s on top of birthdays and family Christmas and baby births and weddings.

Years ago, I made quite a few of the gifts I gave. To me, a handmade gift is pretty dang special. But, you put procrastination together with fear of disappointing someone with my and their champagne and caviar tastes and it’s a wonder I ever get anything given to anyone at all.

Let us then consider implementing some of the most excellent things I have learned to see if we might transform this little nuisance/annoyance/monkey on my back.

Habits and beliefs that contribute to me being late:

  1. Thinking that the day before or the day of is soon enough to start looking.
  2. Believing that no gift I give will be good enough.
  3. Acting as though the perfect gift exists if only I think about it hard enough.
  4. Being double-minded about wanting to vs having to.

Questions to consider:

What if I declared today the day I am no longer compelled to give gifts just because everyone else is? No, that won’t work.

What if I decided that I want to give gifts? No, that’s not really the case right now.

What if I took time to really think about the recipient, and consider what I might do for them that would communicate how I feel about them? No gift I could ever buy would be able to equal how much my people mean to me, but I can still give something that says thank you, or i love you, or happy birthday, or bon voyage. What if I were to come up with some standard things, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every single occasion?

Ok, so I’ll get some gift cards and keep them on hand as the perfectly imperfect gifts that I can give if the perfect gift doesn’t magic carpet its way into the house in time. Because, really, being late every single time just doesn’t serve anyone, and I can have fun with this. Enough with the dread, and procrastination, and perfection!