Gifts I give myself

‘Tis the season, people.

As a woman-wife-mother-professional-friend in this world, there are many a moment where I feel like I need assistance. Whether that come in the form of a personal assistant, fairy godmother, chef, chauffeur, I’m pretty flexible. I will turn my nose up at no help that is offered in keeping this good ship of my life afloat. And that desire for someone to help is a-okay in my book. It’s healthy to look around and be struck with, “Crap, there is a lot here to be done!”

However, while I wait for said help to magically appear, stuff still needs doing. Dishes, laundry, the general pick up. Sweet goodness, why do they all insist on swirling everything in the house into one homogenous heap? Our home’s particular affliction is fill-the-open-space-itis. Has your condiment vacated a space on the fridge shelf? Don’t look now, but I’ve put something else there to fill that gap! Cleared off that table? Oh, no, nellie, here comes my homework and backpack! Empty chair, meet husband’s briefcase. Even the cats are in on it, dragging stuffed animals to be abandoned in the dead center of the hallway. I may or may have not been reduced to threatening full-on asceticism in our house, but whatever.

Because bitterness is particularly unpleasant to live with, and if no one cleans house, we’ll drown in the entropy, one must adjust. For me, this involves a herculean mind game that has become a deeply effective way out. I give myself presents. (NO, not more stuff!) When I’m cleaning the kitchen, again, my previous inner monologue would have been something like this:

“Again. Cleaning this kitchen again. With the food, and the eating, there is no escape.”

Instead, I forcibly tell myself this:

“Future Me, this is for you. Clean counters make us happy, and clutter makes our heart palpitate, so we’re getting this done. I got you, girl. This is Past Me, having your back and making life better.”

And though it might be a sign of full-on delusion or the quirks of an overtaxed brain, when I’ve gone off to something else and returned to the room I’ve just cleaned, I’m thrilled. Mind you, I’m 100% aware that this is work of my own doing. We’ve not gone that far off the rails. Yet. But the feeling of entering a space that is clean and at rest is a deep satisfaction to my soul.

“Hey Past Me. Thank you. You’re saving our bacon lately.”

It’s free, it gets my house clean, and allows me to be nice to me on a fairly regular basis. Not a bad gift, if you ask me.


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