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27 July 2007 @ 03:43 pm
brain gerbils (or weasels - whathaveyou)  
I was doing a five minute drive home this morning, and had one of those somewhat obscure trains of thought that eventually lead me to an aha! moment.  Might not be anything monumental to the rest of you, but I thought it was interesting.

I’d stopped in the center of “town” to drop off some stuff for the annual summer sale (tomorrow – great sale, rilly cheap, benefits local stuff).  As I got in my car I was thinking about the last day (Sunday), when everything is free and we load up a truck with the rest of the stuff for the dump.  Last time I helped out with that, there were a number of stuffed animals on their way to the happy hunting ground.  How sad, I thought.  Then my brain leapt to a place I used to work where we had a toy drive at Christmas: I always donated, and requested that some of the funds be spent on stuffed animals.  Well, <i>I</i> thought they were the most critical toy.  Which lead me now to wonder whether I was right, back then.  If stuffed animals end up in the landfill, perhaps I should have let my money be spent on different toys?  This lead to speculation on whether I’d spent (or donated) my money wisely at all.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have just tossed around those 20s and 50s and 100s, back then when I had a well-paying job.  The ancestors in my brain (gerbils, really) suggest that I should have saved all that – after all, what small amount do I now have to show for my future retirement? I’m already 47, with a job that only pays me peanuts, and a whopping few thou in the bank.

So.  Donate to toy drives and drop 20s on whatever (books, dinner out for poorer friends, etc.) like they’re yuppy foodstamps…. Or save carefully for one’s future….  Which one is better?  Which one is more correct?  Which one occupies the moral high ground?

Which made me realize that the question only arises because I’m wondering what others will think.  More specifically, I’m trying to carefully placate the gerbils.  Really, <i>does it matter?</i>  Perhaps I could just enjoy life, whether I’ve tossed a 20 in some questionably virtuous direction or not? 

Is it possible to appease the gerbils?  Will they shut up of their own accord?  Will I need many years of therapy sessions (which I’m not going to get) to get them to go away?

Tune in next week (or something) for the next thrilling installment of "as the gerbil turns."
kmdkmd on July 27th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
I am currently enrolled in the therapy via Paul Simon course. He has something to sing about this:

who's that conscience
stickin' on the sole of my shoe
tell me who-oo-oo's that conscience
stickin' on the sole of my shoe
well it sure don't fell like love
no it sure don't feel like love

Simon says that this comes from a therapist who once told him to picture all of the self-negative thoughts swirling in his brain as coming from something stuck to the sole of his shoe.

Not exactly the same as gerbil brain, maybe, but I like it. :-)
Lynnettela_penguinita on July 27th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
Which made me realize that the question only arises because I’m wondering what others will think. More specifically, I’m trying to carefully placate the gerbils.

Ah. Expectations. I SO hate expectations. Especially societal ones. *sigh*

So what you're saying is that, when you had more disposable income, you used it to help others--children, poorer friends, etc., instead of squirreling it away for a rainy day. You wretch, you! ;-)

As far as I'm concerned... As long as you are happy with the decisions you've made that have gotten you to where you are today, who cares what other people think? Besides, what's done can't be undone at this point.

Tell the ancestral gerbils to go bite their tails and keep doing what makes you happy.

[And, fwiw, I know for myself that not a single stuffed animal I had as a child was unloved. (Don't ask me about the convoluted "which plushie gets to sleep with me tonight" schedule I had when I was 7. It'd give ya nightmares. *grin*)]
genomekelly on July 28th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
Donate to toy drives and drop 20s on whatever (books, dinner out for poorer friends, etc.) like they’re yuppy foodstamps…. Or save carefully for one’s future…. Which one is better? Which one is more correct? Which one occupies the moral high ground?

Rabbi Hillel the Elder once said, "If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" [_Pirkei Avot_ 1:14]

I think that answers your questions handily.

a wind-carried wingaenohe on July 30th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
heh, gerbils :)
offcenter_wcoffcenter_wc on July 31st, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
Gifts of stuffed animals rarely get rejected. OK, they may not evolve into lifetime friends, but they're appreciated for quite a while, and as such, it's worth the investment.

Which brings up the question: Should you regard stuffed animals as an investment, or merely as spending discretionary income? If you have a spare $20 and donate it towards stuffed animals for someone else, is that a better outcome than there would be if you spent the same $20 on pizza and wings?

(OK, the former gets heart warmth, the latter gets heartburn...)

I know about the gerbils. I recognize their existence. What sucks is that they're that 3 AM voice that comes up during tossing-and-turning and have the benefit of decades of added experience, and unmercifully apply said experience to what you knew and felt and did way back when. And make you feel like shit.

The gerbils say, "Why didn't you do this way back when?" And you know that, right now, you would have done it like that if you had the experience base you do now.

But you didn't.

Because you were dumber than dogshit back then. Fine, gerbils. Go at it. So, where were you gerbils with your wisdom way back when I needed you? What? You were quiet? Thought I was doing OK?

Allrighty then! What gives you gerbils the right to criticize my decisions way back when if you didn't get on my case when I was doing all this? Huh?

There is a point in life where the gerbils eventually begin to fade away. I still hear from them occasionally, but the main revelation is that you recognize that you've been there, done that, got the usual t-shirt, and whatever else, that part of your life has been lived, done with, etched in stone, and no matter what, you're left with the rest of your life to make things right.

In spite of the gerbils.

Who don't know dogshit. Really.