You’re probably asking yourself, “What doesn’t give you anxiety, Austin?” and you would definitely have a point.
Gift giving didn’t earn a place on the Plethora of Anxieties, until I met J. Our first Christmas together, back when we were teenagers in college, opened my eyes to how anxious buying presents could be.
J’s family was incredibly generous. They sent dozens of Christmas gifts to her the year we started dating, and it made my head spin. I’d grown up in a house where we were lucky if we had a couple of gifts waiting under the tree, and most of those gifts were something practical like underwear, socks, and new uniform shirts for school.
Of course, I freaked out thinking I now had to buy dozens of gifts for J, or I would look like a Scrooge who didn’t understand how Christmas worked. We were together for sixteen years, and every Christmas, I felt the pressure of having to top the previous year. It was not good for my mental health or our marriage.
All these years later, I’ve come to understand that the most important gifts I can get are for me. And that’s not just because I’m a quirky introvert who has no one in his life who requires presents.
I am the most important person in my life, and sometimes, I need to spoil myself.
It has been a long, stressful week. Last night, I was falling asleep on the couch at 7:30 while I was watching the Yankees. Yes, some of that can be blamed on my favorite team’s horrible play, but it was mostly because I was exhausted.
So I’m giving myself the gift of nothing.
And you know what? That’s exactly what I wanted!
I stayed in bed late, and gave myself permission to skip my morning run. I’ve really been obsessing over my step count all week, and that is a pressure I am relieving myself of today. Maybe I’ll get totally wild and take off my FitBit.
Who knows? It’s just that kind of day.
This week started strangely when I wrote the wrong character into my Sunday blog post. Every Sunday, I continue the serial of Aaron and Holly, but in last Sunday’s You Remind Me Of A Sea Captain, the story was about Sebastian and Holly.
Sebastian is the main character in my novel. That just shows how tired I am. I have so many ideas rattling around in my head that I can’t even keep my characters straight.
Part of my gift of nothing will be setting aside long blocks of time to work on my novel.
Don’t get me wrong: I do not consider Writing to be nothing. It’s everything actually. But a day of nothing clears me of all distractions and responsibility so that I can focus on writing (and making sure the correct characters go into the corresponding project).
If that doesn’t keep people away, I’m sure my charming personality will!
Don’t panic. This isn’t a cry for help. I’m not sitting alone in the dark, hiding from the world. The Yankees are on at 1:00. I plan to enjoy the game, and interact with my fellow fans on Yankees Twitter. I’ve got red hot dogs, chips and dip, and plenty of Snapple.
Plus, I’m reading a great book.
Like I mentioned previously, I’m going to be working on my writing. The main focus right now is my novel. I’m nineteen chapters in at this point, but there have been some interesting developments this week.
I spoke to Danny, the host of The Nite Show, about a podcast idea that he seems to like.
I sent a Happy Birthday message to the director of The Retirement Party, and he responded with a message about how he is very close to something with one of my other screenplays.
He was very high on the script for the Pilot, and we had talked about getting that produced and airing it on all the stations affiliated with the local channel’s parent broadcasting company.
Then the pandemic hit and everything stopped.
He emailed back the next day, and his response was very positive. So, I might spend some time going back and re-reading all the episodes to prepare myself should this project actually move forward.
Trust me, I know not to get too excited about any of the three projects I just mentioned. Years of working in this business have taught me that.
However, I do allow myself the gift of hope when I get news like this. Hope really is just another gift of nothing when you think about it, but it really is something.
So as I spend a lazy day doing nothing, I will hope that my life might be changing.
I tweeted about my email to the TV exec, and Twitter informed me it’s received the most impressions of any tweet I’ve posted this month. I’m not sure if that really means anything in the long run, but it made me feel warm and fuzzy that other people saw my hopeful news and decided to interact about it.
Hope you all have an amazing Saturday. I know I will!
Do you ever get yourself a gift when you need a little something to nudge you forward, or to reward yourself? Do you spend enough time on self care?