Today is RD’s last day at his present job. We had lunch – Chipotle, his favorite place – and I put together a little care package/thank you/going away gift for him. Mostly it is silly things representing things we have talked about through the months and that I know he enjoys. Since he is a dietician, it was a food tower goodie bag. Some of the items were not carried at my local grocery store, so thank goodness for Amazon prime. With each item I attached a personal note to put it into context through our 6 months of knowing one another and to express my thanks for all he has done for me and how meaningful his friendship continues to be.
Tomorrow marks a year since I first met trainer J and began my life-altering training odyssey. I will admit the date sort of snuck up on me – for whatever reason I was thinking it was July 30. But no, research back through a year of appointments says it was June 30. This week, along with RD’s package, I pulled together a pre-planned celebratory event thing for J as well. It was not that difficult; all but one of the pieces was already in my possession. In the end, my gift was a set of 11 magnetic poetry sets with a different theme word for 11 of the 12 months – July/August 2015 got one box because we got off to a slow start between my crazy brain and jury service. I knew where the sentiment for the personalized cards would come from. It just took a couple of days to finish it and get it wrapped just-so. Presentation is supposed to be important, and I was pleased with the final product. Not the prettiest packages I have or will have ever wrapped – using handled shopping bags from various places is not precisely celebratory and festive. But they get the job done expediently. While M was not especially impressed with my wrappings, he did think the innards worked beautifully.
They were well received – I got very sweet texts from J and from RD. And the contrast between my thoughts and feelings not that long ago and now? Then I would have been stressed about how it was received and apologetic and making excuses for not being better somehow. Now I understand that who I am is not a terrible, desperate, needy person and can clearly see that the wrapping was not uber festive, the sappy sentimentality could be misconstrued or have been uncomfortable, and my handwriting is very elegant. But so what? Truly, for me it is all about the thought about our shared experiences and how truly thankful I am for them as individuals.
The process of creating these personal, specialized gifts got me thinking about the whole gift giving and receiving process. Granted these are paraprofessional relationships within my village and the “events” are not necessarily traditional gifting occasions, but oh well; I am not a traditional gifting kind of person anyway. However, putting these together, I started to wonder if this was more about the recipient or about me, the giver? Is the ostentatious presentation all about me or am I truly trying to honor what have become meaningful friendships in my life?
I laugh when I realize the fine hand of negative girl expressing concern about ostentatious presentation. I waited until parting after lunch to hand RD his goodie bag, and I snuck trainer J’s into his open gym bag right in front of him and joked about how sly I am becoming. In truth if I could have left it on their doorsteps and run away after ringing the bell I might have tried it, because the last thing I would ever want to do is embarrass someone else (or myself) with my sappy sentimentality. Both these men have done a lot for me in the course of their professional career pursuits, and the results are delightful and well beyond any expectations I might have had when we began. With J’s package in particular, the story that unfolded over the course of the last year packed quite a punch for me. While I was there and participated in the process of slowly and steadily making the inroads to where I am right now, it was rather startling to see it laid out there on white index cards in multicolored ink. The words were derived or even copied directly from emails and texts sent to friends and confidants through the months, and I was both humbled and awed to see my progress encapsulated in a few carefully chosen words.
While they are the ones with neat little packages and carefully selected sentiments, I am the one who is feeling particularly fortunate, blessed, and opulently rich from past and future opportunities for learning experiences and sharing with them. In this instance, while I am the giver of gifts I am also a bountiful and grateful recipient. What I handed RD and J today was something a little silly and especially designed just for and all about them and experiences shared, but really, it is also all about me. And in this instance, I believe it is okay. Because it does and has taken a village to get me this far.
Before our present day world with social media and a 24/7 news cycle I used to wish people were more open and more genuine about what they think, how they feel. Growing up as I did, able to count on a single hand and still have fingers left over how many times my parents ever said they loved me in words, I resolved to be a different type of person. I would be sincere in my emotional expression, and I would do my best to ensure those I care for, respect, like and love knew how I felt, how much I appreciate them. While it is not an anomaly in my nuclear family, I find it is still an oddity in the world at large. More than once my genuine, authentic self has been judged as or accused of unauthentic fakery. And it truly saddens me. Not to the point of being completely cynical and shutting down that side of my personality, but I am slightly more cautious and careful in expressing myself until I can be certain that they will not misconstrue or be uncomfortable with my brand of open and honest going forward.
Once upon a time, an acquaintance told me that anything said or done in the right spirit would never be offensive. A thoughtful platitude, one I wish were genuine and true in the modern world. The problem occurs to me that MY right spirit could be very different than YOUR right spirit; such is the way of our world.
But within my village, in my small corner of the world, thankful sentiments from my whole heart are genuine and celebrated by me. And I am glad that my right spirit is in sync, or at least understood, by my village as well as my friends near and far. My family – they know I march to the beat of some unknown drummer; it’s part of my charm.
All is happy, all is well in my world. And while it is still too freaking hot outside, the sunny and warm inside me and radiating outward is nice in its current 24/7/365 state.
Happy Wednesday everyone!