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productivity, contribution, and self worth

I guess it came with growing up relatively poor, or having good role models, that I don’t tie my self worth to having a fancy car or fancy clothes (although I do have a lot of clothes – many of them still secondhand) or how much money I make.

But how do people define their self-worth?  How much you mean to your friends?  How much you mean to your husband (wife/significant other/etc.)?  What a good mother you are?  How clean your house is?  How healthy you are?  How much you contribute to charity?  How much you know?  How educated you are?  How much your job, or your beyond job activity contributes to society as a whole?

The job thing and the education thing contributes a great deal to how I tend to feel about myself.  As an overachiever child, this plays out in bizarre ways in adulthood.

T-storm talked a lot awhile ago about Erikson’s theories of lifespan development.  I never considered a career as a psychologist, but of all the things he’s come home with from his counseling grad classes, this to me is the most interesting.  Hooray lifespan development!

(This is also kind of funny, as we re-watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last night, full of slow motion silhouettes indicating the vs. battles.  Now I’m going to think of things like shame & stagnation dissolving into a giant flurry of coins.)

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Filed under advice, love

so this is Christmas

Today was my first Christmas away from my mother.

When I went to college, I didn’t go very far away.  And almost immediately after I graduated high school, my mother moved down and almost sort of followed me.  When I played in concerts for the next six years, she’d always be there.

Ever since I graduated high school, Christmas had always been homecoming.  That first post-hs Christmas, it was a friend coming home from Parris Island, and everyone reconnecting after our first six months or so apart.  Last year, my brother had a fiance who had a kid, and for what it’s worth, Christmas with a kid involved is always more fun.  It’s about kids, anyway, even when they are horrible sometimes, to see their faces light up is always something magical.  His fiancee and her kid are no longer in our lives, but I do miss having a little, super excited kid around on Christmas.  And after the kid Christmas, it was me and my two best friends together, with T-storm as well.  It was really something special.

The lines about Christmas being too commercial and too whatever are quite honestly, tired.  Are you doing anything to change how the holidays are celebrated?  Then STFU.  Most of the time, whatever’s going on during the holidays, I just sort of give in.  It’s good to be surrounded by warmth and love and friends and family and I personally don’t care that I now ignore the religious aspect of it altogether.  It’s a good enough excuse to get together with family and loved ones and appreciate each others’ company.

And yes, this Christmas, I went to my husband’s parents’ house, and had dinner and hilariously fun card game time and even watched an episode of The Real McCoys (now on DVD!) with them, his brother, his brother’s fiancee, and her mother.  And the hubs, of course.

And then we watched the second half of Fellowship of the Ring (we started last night – from the extended cut DVDs) tonight and he fell asleep on my lap while the cat jaunted around the couch.

(Wait – you haven’t met the cat yet.  You will in a day or two.)

And I laid on the couch being grateful for all I had, and all I’d been lucky enough to receive this year.  Whatever homecoming and friendship rededication or whatever we usually wait until Christmas for, we had tenfold at the wedding in November.  I should watch our wedding slideshow again and remind myself of these things.

But I go to bed, not long after T-storm, for once, and I realize quickly that I cannot sleep.  It’s a futile effort.  When I’m out I’m out, and there is never any joy derived from waking me in the morning, but when I can’t sleep I know better than to let my mind wander while awake in bed.

In the last week before the holiday, I sort of overdid it on Christmas a little bit.  On sentimental things in general.  Rewatched all of the Christmas episodes of 30 Rock several times.  Must have listened to The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”, The Smashing Pumpkins “Christmastime”, and The Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping” at least a dozen times apiece.  I made a dining room full of Christmas bunting in one night, and even a line of holiday card bunting.  I went through a Gilmore Girls greatest hits rundown.  I baked like a madwoman on Christmas Eve.

But nothing could be going home.  Nothing could be best friends, nothing could be having a morning of making fun of parades with my mother.

In all honesty, I wasn’t terribly connected and affectionate to my husband this Christmas morning.  We had gifts last night, and I think some of my last-minute holiday cheer sort of wore thin on him.  I was back in craft focus mode, and not marriage focused partner mode.  I can’t blame him for not being thrilled with that.

But we watched Fellowship and laughed at the cat, and all was better.  And now I can’t sleep.

Part of it is just the shift of moving toward being the old married lady.  All of our friends seem to be heading in all different directions.  Once I graduated high school, I was amazed at all of the different directions everyone would take.  I guess I’d never thought about it before then.

I continue to be amazed at all of the different directions everyone’s lives take.  But I guess it’s more important to be grateful for the bonds that keep us together, somehow.

A good end to this would be me going back to bed, into my husband’s arms, but I have a feeling there will be a few rounds of Peggle between me and that happily night after.

Merry Christmas, anyway.

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Filed under holidays, home, love