Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Deserving

 An interesting thing happened. For Christmas, I received a gift card to a woman's clothing store. 

Anyone that reads this blog knows that I generally buy my clothing from a thrift store. I find nice clothes there, really nice stuff. I'm careful. I choose carefully. Good labels. No flaws. I look for colors that will match with things that I already have.  I dress nicely, but I also dress cheaply. 

There is a reason for that. Part of it is that I read about a small boy in India who worked in a clothing factory. He was killed by the men he worked with because "he was annoying". He was the same age as my beloved little grandson. Why should a five year old be working in a factory? That glimpse of another world struck me as unutterably heartbreaking, that a child should be slaving away in a dirty factory around unkind people for no other reason than to fulfill this world's demand for some new piece of clothing or some plastic geegaw. 

Another part of it is that I have listened to voices telling me from my earliest time what I deserved, what I didn't deserve. 'All good things must be earned'. If you didn't earn them, you didn't deserve them. A marriage to a man who became convinced that he deserved better. His wife who believed that self same thing from a very secret place in her own heart. Raising kids who I was convinced deserved better. I wanted them to have everything but knew at the heart of it, I had nothing at all to give them. Now they are grown and they have done better for themselves than I have ever done. It's a shocking realization. I am awed by their successes. They have struck out on their own paths and they are good paths, amazing paths.

It is just Tim and I, and we have no need to be as careful as I am, but still, I think about a little boy in India, gone all these years, and really, the things that I find in thrift stores are good enough for me. About how important it is to live within my means. 

Anyways, I took my $40 gift card to the store after Christmas. They were having quite a sale. I found a long midnight blue cardigan with tiny flecks of gray and gold in it. The yarn was smooth and soft. I folded it over my arm and continued on. I found a sleeveless shirt with sweet detailing on the front that would be perfect under the cardigan. I placed them side by side and studied the effect. I was surprised at the pleasure I felt. I looked some more and  found a bulky knit cardigan, charcoal gray. I studied it, and mentally matched it up with two shirts that I had at home already, a casual and a dressy shirt. After my purchases, I still had money left over. I finished my trip with a stop at my favorite thrift store. I found a pullover sweater, natural yarns. I also found a pretty flannel tunic. I also bought three books. 

It was quite a luxurious day. 

In the days since, I've been thinking about that a lot, about the quiet little part of me that celebrated those clothes. About the more dominant part of me that feels undeserving or that I owe a debt to the rest of the world. I don't know what it is exactly, but there is this reluctance to do anything nice for myself. A swirled whirl of old thoughts mixing with the satisfying new experience of buying a new sweater and finding a shirt that matches perfectly. 

I went through my drawers and weeded out old clothes to be given to the thrift store. I kept the things that I loved, my favorite cardigans and their matching shirts. My tee shirts. My little collection of comfy flannel shirts . My favorite jeans. It is an unaccustomed feeling, to keep things because I love them. To discard the things that I don't. 

This is a strange post. I know it is, but thoughts have been whirling around my mind. After this period of self indulgence, and a week of half days (so far, anyway), we had a meeting yesterday, just before I left. They want to extend us until March. 

There are eight more days on my countdown app. This would add at least 42 more days. 

I thought about the trip I have planned to go see my son and daughter-in-law and my three year old grand daughter. I have a bag in the corner of a bedroom. When I am out and about, I see things that remind me of that little girl. I get them and I drop them into that bag for my next visit. I've accumulated quite a lot of very exciting things in that bag and I was really looking forward to my trip out to them. 

But, I know that I can make that week off a precondition of my employment. They did that before. Their call had been unexpected, and I had some plans I wasn't willing to change and they wrote it into our agreement. They'd probably do it again. Unless, of course, they are fed up with 'the voice of the people.'

Tim doesn't retire until March. We'd both be retiring about the same time if I took the extension. That seems sensible. 

I give a ride in to my son-in-law. This would give him six more weeks, a bit more time to get his own transportation problem sorted out. 

I thought about my trip overseas. It would delay that a few weeks, but I'd be socking extra money away. It would make me feel less guilty about the expense of walking out of my life for a month, something I have never done before. 

I think about all these things weighing them, turning it over and over in my mind. about the fact that accepting the extension simply makes sense, but....

...I just don't want to. 

And it makes me feel selfish to say that out loud. 



19 comments:

  1. You have been so looking forward to your last day. Don't extend work. Take your trips and visit your family. You DO deserve it!

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  2. I enjoy reading your blog. Close to 70 years old, lately I have had a hard time with the word "Deserve." I have come to realize that there is no one on earth with the right or the knowledge to decide who "deserves" what. It is precious to me to remember Proverbs, 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart..." Because, truly, only God knows what each of us needs. He loves us, and that is something everyone "deserves." Psalms 37:4 "...he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." We are creating our future with the "desires" of our hearts. Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful posts.

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  3. I have a hard time buying anything for myself, my husband used to say " if one of your kids wanted that you would buy it in a minute for them' he was right. Now I am alone and still have a hard time buying for myself, even to the point of a food I might want that is a little extra. My two kids are far better off than I am and are very generous to me. I still wear my older but still in good shape clothes. The kids do not buy clothes for me now. I tell them buy for the grands, three military and 2 college. I am happiest seeing someone get something new. I am very generous with other people in need. You do deserve the new clothes and the big trip. We went to Germany 3 times and it was a great emperience, my son was stationed there. I am so glad we got to do those trips before my husband got sick and passed away. Grab today, tomorrow is not always there.

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  4. I would gladly shop at thrift stores if I could shop online. I just hate shopping for clothes in general. I usually just pick a shirt that I really like and look it up online and get more in different colors. Jeans, I get more of the same style and size. It doesn't take much to make me happy much to my wife's chagrin.

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  5. Well, that WAS an interesting post. I also buy things at thrift stores, but every once in a while I treat myself to something new. Having that balance, and not buying things from "fast fashion" places where clothes aren't made to last, makes sense to me.

    Regarding the extension, the money would be nice -- but I think you have to listen to your gut. Maybe you're just ready to stop, and there's nothing wrong with that. Especially as much as they've had you working!

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  6. I'm the same sometimes. I have a hard time spending money on myself, except for winter coats and boots. I also don't need much. I wear uniforms to work and comfy clothes at home. I worry about all if the stuff in the world and don't want to add to it.

    It would be hard to change your retirement date because in your mind it was set. I'm feeling the same way. I had planned on retiring in Sept and now I'm second guessing myself, worrying about how we'll manage.

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  7. No, you are not being selfish you are being realistic.
    Enough is enough.

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  8. Re work. You've done enough IMO, especially working for what sounds like a miserable company. You've done what you set out to do. Mission accomplished.

    And yeah, I don't love spending $ on myself. I do it from time to time, such as buy a new lens although it has been several years. But I don't love doing it and don't buy the best or most expensive although I do try to find good quality still. So, I do it sometimes, but I don't love it, and I don't fawn over what I purchase. Whether it is clothes or a lens, I buy what I think I need to buy, and then I get on with it.

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  9. You can only do what you think is right in that moment.

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  10. Not selfish, just honest. Remember, life is short.

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  11. Sometimes decisions don't have to be practical or rational, but just because they make you feel better! If you just don't want to extend your time there, just don't. You've worked hard at a job not run by a nice person, but a person who snaps their fingers and expects everyone to change their plans so many times with short notice. That pattern wouldn't have lasted long if he was in charge of nurses. We're devoted and work extra days and hours, but if you run over our planned time off, we start looking elsewhere. I found I enjoyed planned vacations and travel much better if I took a couple of days off before I had to catch a plane or start a road trip.
    Glad you're enjoying your new threads. I hate clothes shopping, but love it when I find something I like, and can buy it on sale.
    Do what's right for YOU! Cheers, Linda in Kansas

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  12. Don't accept the extension. You've done enough. Enjoy preparing to see your lovely grand daughter. Best wihes

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  13. Thoughts on your post. You have endured the mandatory overtime over the last few months because you had that light at the end of the tunnel. The company you work for has just lengthened the tunnel-again. It can be moved again in March.

    Go back and read some of your old posts over the last few months. You have been exhausted and frustrated by your work situation.

    Since you are in a position to retire comfortably now-do it. I know how hard it is when you have lived through tough financial times in the past to pass up more for your nest egg, but at what cost to you physically and emotionally?

    You DESERVE it!

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  14. I go with the majority, you have looked forward to this time and you should take it and go and see your family. It has been hard work that company you work for, and you don't seem particularly happy there, so make the break.

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  15. I always enjoy your posts Debby. Go for whatever Debby wants to do. Great post!

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  16. Wandering thoughts often realise the best blog posts. A thought provoking post indeed Debbie

    Just remember mental health also needs to be considered……do what you want to do - be what you want to be. It’s in your hands!

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  17. One case of child abuse to focus on can be a good thing but I'm sure it is wide spread in many parts of the world.

    I don't see it as necessarily a good thing for Tim and you to finish at the same time. While I slipped into retirement very comfortable, it took my partner who retired a few years earlier quite some time to adjust. I would not have liked us to have retired at the same time.

    Logic says keep working to March, but life is not all about logic. Chuck it.

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  18. Sounds like it is a massive no to the extension, to me. They haven't treated their staff well. If they had maybe it would be a different story. :)

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  19. Oh gracious! You are not selfish at all. Sometimes, we're all entitled to do something nice for ourselves. I confess I don't spend much on clothes for myself. My daughter keeps scolding me. I grew up poor and for several years after our marriage, we watched our nickels and dimes. After I went back to teaching and we were more comfortable financially, I suppose I could have splurged occasionally but it's really, really hard to get out of that habit. My husband also had that same sort of upbringing so we're hard nuts to crack. I'm so glad you're thinking about yourself, Debby. It's important for your well being.

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I'm glad you're here!