The Gifts You Can’t Unwrap

The older I get the more I realize how content I am with what I have in life. With my upcoming birthday festivities, people have asked me for gift ideas. I have nothing. There’s nothing I want or need that money can buy. That’s not what it’s important to me. I was so desperate to give my mom an idea that I asked for a new tattoo (which my dad will say absolutely not). I literally am the worst person when it comes to buying gifts. Some of this difficult gifting probably stems from my childhood where we got overwhelmed with gifts each Christmas and birthday. My parents went overboard on numerous occasions. But they always made sure I was grateful and my ego stayed grounded. At some point you realize that an abundance of nice, partially useless gifts is no longer justifiable. Now as an adult, I want things money can’t buy.

I reflect on things as I approach another year closer to the big 3-0. My sister in law lives almost eight hours away in Atlanta. For the years it took us to get along and bond. We have made up for it in the last 6 months or so. I would like the gift of seeing her every day and being able to just chill out…. Have a semi serious conversation while driving to Sonic at 10 pm or even spend 3 hours going through the printed T-Shirts at Gabe’s.  My grandma passed away in 2009. I would like the gift to have one more conversation, one more hug where our cheeks would rest on each other and I could felt her soft skin against mine… Oh and just to smell of her house one last time. My horse was put down in February after being in my life for 17 years. The gift of hearing his hooves beat against the ground as we would take a ride in the fall – just the two of us – would be the best without compare. Or even having a three day weekend every weekend would be awesome. I would be ecstatic to have someone pay it forward just to remind me that there is still hope for humanity out there.

What is the true significance of gifts? Would you rather receive a sweater from your Great Aunt Irma that you may wear once or would you rather just sit and talk to her, learn about her life? Materials can be replaced. Having the ability to spend time with someone can not be replaced. To me, gifts are almost irrelevant when celebrating birthdays. Kids are so overwhelmed that they don’t even know who got them what. As an adult, I’d much rather receive the gift of doing than having some monetarily wasted crap collecting dust. Take me somewhere, do something together, make my favorite food, give me a hug, be a decent human being – those are the kind of gifts I want to receive. Feed me – I love food. That’s the true way to anyone’s heart.

Another reason I find it hard to ask for gifts or have a constant want for things can be blamed on being an only child. No, this doesn’t mean that I have been spoiled since birth. This means that I have been fortunate and blessed to have the things I have always needed in life. I wanted a car at 16 – but it wasn’t a need. I was fortunate to share a vehicle with my parents to get me from Point A to Point B until I was able to afford my own mode of transportation. With being an only child, I also tend to be more independent that those who had siblings. And I love being strong-willed, determined and independent. I don’t rely on other people to buy me things. I go to work, earn a paycheck and buy my wants for myself. I love being able to know that I am supporting myself without the help of others.

The only thing I have been remotely excited to receive as a birthday gift this year is donations from Facebook to the organization of my choice. When I realized I could donate my birthday to the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, I got near teary eyed knowing I could give back to something that is always giving. My love for animals started at a young age. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I like animals way more than I like people any day of the week. Being able to give is the best gift I could receive.

I guess in the scheme of things, I will continue to receive gifts. Even after being a difficult person to buy for, I still end up with Christmas and birthday gifts every year. I am grateful that I am loved enough to receive. However in my book, gifts aren’t bought… Gifts are given and that is all that I really want. It’s all about the gifts you can’t unwrap.

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