Podcast 11 – Listing Wishfully

Posted on December 8, 2006

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I finally got my act together the other day and re-compiled my wish list for the holidays. I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, so it wasn’t a new endeavor, but it took more effort this time.

And it’s precisely this effort that concerns me. Instead of being rabid to compose a string of expensive, extravagant and interesting items on a list that is posted for all the world to see – by the way, you can find it at jeffcutler.com/wishlist (the wishlist part is all one word) – instead of this rabidity, I was pretty nonchalant this year. And that frightens me.

My modus operandi is one that is best described as Jeff to the world. Not in a inwardly focused style, but in a ‘the holidays are so taxing on everyone’s nerves that you should be able to smile’ way.

So I frequently try to be as creative in my list making as I am in my advertising brainstorming, my blog entries and my emails to long-lost friends. I sometimes put things like circus tickets, licorice laces and even home renovations to the tune of $260,000 on the list. But I think I’ve either grown up or lost the enthusiasm for things.

Don’t think this is all crazy talk, I still have some fun stuff there, but most things on the list are more slanted toward gift cards and practical items than in years past.

Maybe it’s a new era – or the semblance of a period that we all approach as we get older – but I’m not sure I’m too fond of the list apathy that has gripped my soul.

I want to want. The urge to bask in excess is something I miss, and thankfully it’s something I can’t grasp hold of by purchasing gadgets from Brookstone, sushi from Porter Square or bike parts from SpeedGoat.com. Well, maybe the sushi would make me smile a little.
But what comes next? The inexorable trip to being altruistic? A path that has me standing in soup kitchens with a ladle? Or divesting myself of all 280 of my baseball caps to kids who need them more than I.

In retrospect I think this sense of wonder is a safety valve to my sanity and it gives me hope that I’m not that far gone from the present-hoarder of days gone by.

Similar to those smart people you know who don’t focus on their brains and are slightly insecure in their brilliance, I think that I’m safe from gift burnout.

You see, by leaning toward the irrational and talking hypothetically about no presents, I’ve awoken a greedy little monster inside me. And this monster is already gurgling and whimpering about gift cards, home and travel electronics and a lengthy list of fun things to sate its appetite.

Phew, that was close! Wishion accomplished!

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