Posted by: jmdenham | December 17, 2012

Home Day 3: Know Thyself

Has it already been 3 days?  Yes, indeed.  3 days.  Well, it certainly has been a great 3 days.

Today was so much fun as I got to go to work with my mom and participate in her companies Santa to a Senior program where I got to gift wrap and prepare gift bags for some 1,155 seniors who are needy and who may not have received a gift from anyone.  It was lots of fun.  And then I made dinner, taco soup, for my family which is always a super fun time for me.  I got to throw myself into Christmas shopping today, another fun thing for me.

But today though was pretty unique because a couple times today I was reminded about the things that make me tick and traits that I have, some of which brings lots of joy and can be cute (!), or drive others crazy.  But even being reminded of who I am makes for a great time.  Know thyself right?

So let’s review my day:

  • As I was helping with Santa to a Senior, I found that I was overwhelmingly organized and system’s oriented.  I wanted a plan to knock out the gifts and knock them out quick and effectively.  And I did  I immediately got into a plan where I filled gifts one by one with one product at a time and even bypassed the instructions for the volunteers to make the system better.  But others, my goodness!  I knocked out 300 gifts in 20 minutes, but there were some others who were filing gifts randomly with the 7 parts needed and it took them almost 2 and a half hours with crazy disorganization to get some 400 bags taken care of. It came down to my personality of order and planning- I like making a plan or a system for any task and completing it well, and when others don’t, I almost become useless and lost and unable to help out because I can’t figure out where to start the help.  Some like the disorganization, but I have such a distaste for it that others think I am lazy!  But instead I am helpless without a plan or system!  Yikes!  But some people actually appreciate me for that plan and order, because I often pull it off with a laidback attitude.  But I will get out of sorts and frustrated without, easily!
  • I love giving gifts!!!!!!!!!! I can’t help but buy gifts for people because I really love the opportunity to give something to people, whether it be Santa to a Senior or even buying Christmas gifts for family and to-be-family.  Giving is a love language for me.  I can spend hours at a store walking through and thinking of the possibilities, the gifts that could be great gag gifts, great gifts of laughter, gifts of joy or significance.  It’s fun to me.  But it can be indecisive and it is often a home for my perfectionism.  I love special moments so I will plan on a gift that fits a moment or that achieves a very specific image or situation or moment in my mind (my fiancee knows this all too well just from an ice skating expedition).  So when my gifts don’t meet the moment, or if the vision I have in mind with the gift doesn’t quite pan out, I get disappointed and will become a little moody.  Or if the gift I really want isn’t there, I get frustrated and become insufferable with any other possibility or option.  But my gifts are usually good, significant, and about right, and it makes me feel incredible and feel that I am communicating how much I love someone.  In other words, it brings me great joy!
  • Joy matters to me.  Joy comes in moments or in small things that most people look over.  Today, it was the smile of a fellow volunteer, the laugh of my fiancee on the phone, choosing gifts and getting a laugh from my funny imagination with those gifts, making a meal for people, or waking up early to tell someone half a nation away good morning.  These little things bring me joy.  And what I also was reminded of today was how I do not believe joy is the absence of sorrow.  The chance to tell people about my job brings great joy, even though the job is not without sorrow.  And as people share their feelings about the tragedy last week, I am reminded that my and our joy is not without sorrow, nor does the joy fade as soon as sorrow shows up on the radar.  For me, joy comes in the small moments that makes the evils, the pains, the frustrations of life, even the major tragedies, become only temporary realities.
  • I can be ambivalent when people need me to be decisive or strongly opinionated.    I am so good at being PC or being gentle that I often don’t let anyone know what I want or even if I have an opinion.  Ambivalence.  I don’t mind.  Whatever makes you happy.  It helps when I am a professional caregiver in a hospital where the task at hand is listening and compassion.  Not when I am trying to take on responsibilities with a family, or when my family is trying to do something for me that I want to do.  Part of this is growing in becoming inclusive of others in my life (especially as I am committing to life with someone else) and making decisions together.  But part of it is also letting myself be responsible and be heard.  It is a responsible thing to let others know where I stand, albeit gently and kindly.  It can be a non-issue, even unnoticeable, but other times it can be annoying or even frustrating and awful.  With my family there are moments where I remove myself by not sharing my opinion and end up making things worse.  It didn’t happen today, but I was reminded in my interactions with others that I am way too non-committal in way too many situations.
  • Playing games matter to me.  I love games.  I spent almost two hours looking at board games and card games at Target, Walmart and another store today.  Crazy!  And to one extent, I am competitive, but I just love to play!!!!!  Play is where I get plenty of joy and where I get to enjoy my community of friends and family.  Awesome!  Boggle, Settlers, Nertz, Apples to Apples, cards, Phase 10, Yahtzee…omg!!!!  Awesome.

You know, being home is awesome.  Being home always brings me, and also for many of you, back to some realities that can point us to how we have matured, how we have grown, and also to who we are and how we will always be the same.  And that is fun to me.  Home and family contains identity, past and present and future.

So, it continues to be a great week at home with family.  And I promise you, it will get even better!

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