This was tough. For the past couple of years, it has been harder and harder for me to come up with things I'd like for Christmas. Tough problem to have right?! The thing is, since I've downsized my life, and learned to live with less, I actually desire less. I don't know if that's typical or not. I'm not a scientist and I haven't conducted any controlled experiments. Honestly, I personally would think that a significant drop in income and acquisition of material items would lead to a person craving them MORE, but I can tell you in my case that did not happen. I caught the end of a documentary on PBS this weekend that may explain why.
The movie was called "Happy" and I just happened to find it while flipping through the channels on Sunday morning.
The filmmakers interviewed people all over the world, as well as various scientists, to determine what ultimately leads to human happiness. One of the most important points that stuck with me was when they quantified the two basic types of goals that humans pursue: Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic. They broke down each goal into 3 main sub-parts as follows:
- Personal Growth
If you are focused on extrinsic goals, then you are placing your happiness in the hands of external factors. On the other hand, intrinsic goals put the focus on what is within you. They concluded the people who rated themselves as happiest were intrinsic goal seekers.
I think deep down, we all probably know this, but in this day and age, its very hard to keep the focus on the internal, and not the external. Especially around Christmas!
The things I want for Christmas really can't be bought. I've been so focused lately on personal growth and fulfillment and finding ways to make my life meaningful that I haven't really had the time or money to want new 'things'. Gift giving for Jill made easy this year! Just help me find my life's purpose and a deep, fulfilling and lasting love and we'll be besties :)
I do love giving gifts though. I bought a lot of gifts on Etsy this year because I felt better about supporting individual artists rather than big box stores (although I still shopped at those too. Kill me at the mall this time of year). And, I do believe giving and receiving gifts (whether they're material or not), makes both the giver and recipient feel good. I know I'll love whatever gifts I receive from my family and friends because the intention behind them is love. In fact, aren't gifts really just a physical token of appreciation or love?
I also got to thinking about WANT vs. NEED this weekend, when I found myself without water for a day. Going without water in my home for day seemed like an insurmountable misfortune at first until I really thought about it. I live in America. There are fresh water and waste removal systems all around me. All I had to do was step out my door to a shop, my gym, or a friend's house to grab a drink of water, use the bathroom or shower. People in other areas of the world go without fresh drinking water EVERY DAY. They die because of this. One day without a shower for me, is not nearly the end of the world. Plus, my friend invited me over, unshowered, and said she loved me just the way I was. That's true love :)
So I guess for Christmas and the New Year, what I really want is to continue pursuing happiness in the form of intrinsic goals. Some semblance of financial security, perhaps some new running gear or a new car radio (yep, still broken) and a man-friend (<----can someone make that happen please?!) would be icing on the cake.
What's on your wish list this year?