Give Yourself a Gift for No Reason or For Just Being You
Do you ever feel sad because you're having a bad day? Do you sometimes feel in a rut because things just aren't going right? Do you find yourself feeling discouraged?
I'll tell you what I've done to feel better during several unhappy times in my life. This may give you some ideas of how to be kind to yourself when it's most important.
Sometimes you just need to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a gift for no reason, or for just being – you!
This article is not for those who have clinical depression. I recommend that if you have uncontrollably bad feelings you should seek help from a professional.
I’m generally healthy when it comes to mood swings. I think I felt really down only three times in my life. I can’t really consider those times as a depression. It was more like being sad, feeling glum, or just plain melancholy. That’s a good word for it!
I remember back in the '70s when something was making me miserable. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember what I did about it.
I decided to be extra good to myself. I can share with you my thought process.
I thought of myself as my own best friend. I wanted to reward myself for getting through a tough time, so I decided to give myself a really expensive gift, something that I would want, and something that would put me in a happy place.
Getting Into a Happy Place
My First Unhappy Time
Oh the seventies! What memories! It was the time when video cassette recorders (VCR's) were just coming out.
One day in May of 1975 I was feeling down about something, so I bought myself a Sony Betamax. It was big, it was heavy, and cost over $1000 at that time.
That first model only recorded for 30 minutes, and it didn’t even have a built-in timer to schedule recordings. Later on, longer Beta tape cartridges allowed increased recording time. Later models eventually included a timer to set for recording programs while away.
Who knew what advancements would be coming next? I was in a rush to get a gift for myself. And the Betamax was the only video recorder at that time.
I did spend more money again later on, buying another more modern video recorder. Recorders with the VHS format were released just a year later, in October 1976, by JVC.
The VHS units had many more useful features than Sony had put in the first Betamax. VHS VCR's had tape cartridges that recorded up to six hours, and they were much less expensive.
Sure, the Beta Technology was the better of the two, but VHS took over the market. You might recall that cassette tapes won over eight-track tapes in the same way. Remember those?
Anyway, that’s all beside the point. My Betamax did put me in my Happy Place.
Cuckoo for Cuckoo Clocks
A Second Experience Feeling Gloomy
Another time in my life when I was again having those feelings of sadness, I remembered having a little cuckoo clock on the wall in my bedroom when I was a child growing up. I don’t know what happened to that clock, but I had lingering fond memories of watching the cuckoo pop out on the hour.
Now, as an adult, and another time when I felt down, I decided to get a real big cuckoo clock as a way of being good to myself. I wanted to give myself a really nice gift, a real functioning, really eloquent, fun to watch, cuckoo clock.
I knew I needed to find one with more than just a little bird. I wanted one that ran a whole week on the pull of real weights and had other animated stuff going on.
Having done my research I discovered that the real cuckoo clocks are made in the Black Forest of Germany. Craftsmen make them by hand. I found a company that actually built them to specs.
I ordered direct from one of the clock builders overseas. It cost me over $600, but I was able to specify that I wanted animals carved into the wood frame; I wanted real wooden clock hands instead of plastic; I wanted little people dancing when the cuckoo cuckooed; and I had a choice of those people being made of plastic or hand carved and painted wood. I went for it all. After all, it’s a one-time investment in my happiness. Right?
It was marvelous. It put me in my happy place. The weights only had to be pulled up once a week. Every hour, on the hour, the cuckoo would poke his head out and cuckoo. Then little figurines of dancers would dance around for a few seconds while music played. Oh yes, I was able to select the music when I placed the custom order. It has a music box built in!
It got me out of my depression. And it continues to give me pleasure every hour of every day.
I later discovered that one could find pre-built versions of really great cuckoo clocks on Amazon. I even found this one that’s very similar to mine.
It was even cheaper on Amazon than I paid for mine when I ordered direct from the Black Forest. If I were to do it again, I'd order from Amazon.
Feeling of Time Running Out
My Third Melancholy Occurrence
When I turned 65 recently I found myself having those pangs of gloom for the third time in my life. I know it’s only temporary. I know it’s just a turning point in my life. The changes taking place, planning to retire, and learning about Medicare, intensifies the realization that I’m getting older.
So, once again, I decided to reward myself for getting through it. What to do? What should I give myself this time? Maybe something related to time itself. After all, time is running out as we age.
You might be thinking right now, why in the world would I want a gift related to time running out. Sure. I agree. However, looking at it from another angle (I tend to think outside the box), I’d like to think of a way to give myself time.
One day I stumbled upon a repeat of the original Wizard of Oz on one of the movie channels. I loved that movie when I was young, so I watched it.
Do you remember the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West used her hourglass to give Dorothy an hour to give her the ruby slippers?
Well, it suddenly dawned on me!
That’s it! I wanted a really big, really real, really fancy hourglass. One that really had sand that ran for a full hour. Yes! That would put me in my happy place!
As I usually do, I started off doing some research. Google is great for researching things. I remember those days when I used to go to the library and read through dozens of microfiche. Things are so different in today’s world with the Internet.
Just imagine how the world will be 100 years from now when everyone is connected to each other via implanted microchips. That’s not so far-fetched, our cars will be functioning that way in our lifetime.
Anyway, I digress. Getting back to the hourglass, I ordered direct from a craftsman who hand carves the frame that holds the glass bulbs where the sand runs through. He builds each one on demand. Cool. I even was able to select the wood and the color of sand.
He tells me that psychotherapists usually order one with 50 minutes of sand since they use it to show their patients when the session is over. Their hour session with a therapist is really only 50 minutes. Am I digressing again?
I was looking forward to getting my hourglass, but after a couple of weeks I called to check on the status or the order. He told me he had trouble getting more bulbs, so I canceled the order and got my money back.
Back to square one, I turned to Amazon and found a huge choice of options. No need to buy a custom hourglass. Amazon has all kinds, and I saved a lot.
I can't imagine that I was willing to pay $300 for a custom handcrafted hourglass. How silly of me. I found this one on amazon for under $50 with tax. It’s 7 ½ inches tall and is precise to 60 minutes within 5 seconds. Yes, I timed it.
I plan to use it to time my writing sessions. When I get focused, I lose all sense of time.
By the way, I didn't order the hourglass that the Wicked Witch used with flying monkeys carved into the wood, although I found that online too.
I didn’t feel that one was appropriate since I’m a good witch who’s in my happy place once again.
© 2015 Glenn Stok
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