Obliviousness – The Art of Self Delusion
December 26, 2010 7 Comments
Yesterday, Christmas Day, was relatively non-eventful. My sister was here and the two of us watched free Netflix Christmas movies most of the day. We crocheted blankets for others. I cooked a brisket and some garlic mashed potatoes for dinner and waited for BF to show up so we could all eat it together.
BF had opened presents with us in the morning (we each had 1-2 from various people) and then he left to go have Christmas with his best friends family and a group of his friends. A tradition that they’ve had for quite some time. He told me he was going to be gone for a few hours, two at the most, then be back.
Five hours later I texted him to let him know the food would be ready in an hour. Six and a half hours later I called him to remind him the food was ready. He was at home (which surprised me) and had lost track of time.
Midway through dinner the comment came out “sorry, Christmas time depresses me”. I didn’t pursue it further at this time because my sister was sitting with us and whatever it was that depressed him about Christmas I’m sure wasn’t for her ears to hear.
But really – I have spent the last 10 years in a state of depression about Christmas. My entire family growing up is, well to be blunt, dead. All dead. If that isn’t a big slap in the Christmas spirit every year I don’t know what is. And my goal this year was to create a nice Christmas. Nothing special, but just a simple good time of everyone together. And I couldn’t keep BF around to enjoy it. No one could.
Why was BF depressed? Because he couldn’t afford to buy his friend’s presents. So he felt shitty about receiving them.
Which brought me to two points when we discussed it later that night:
- Your friends care about you. They are giving you gifts because they enjoying giving them to you. You aren’t obligated to be anything else but their friend. They know your financial situation and they have known for years that you don’t return gifts and that you feel bad about it – but they still keep giving to you. That’s because they’re your friends and they love you.
- If you don’t want the same thing to happen next year DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Take $10 a paycheck, you won’t miss it. Save it. Wait for Christmas. BOOM. You have $240 to spend on gifts, enough to get something for everyone.
He started crying (why does money so often bring people to tears?) and then saying I was right.
I don’t know if that means he’ll take my suggestion. I have offered a lot of good financial solutions to him for problems… we’ll see if he takes this advice…
Between this and the incident with his teeth, I’ve begun to realize that BF lives in a state of obliviousness. A conscious choice to not think about things that cause him pain, cost him money, can hurt others – until they reach a tipping point.
And my friends, obliviousness always reaches a tipping point.
I don’t think that BF is alone in this, I think most people do this. Until 3 years ago I was living in a state of financial obliviousness. Credit for anything, maxed cards, uncontrolled spending, a belief that my future self would magically work all of this debt out.
Self delusion is a powerful thing. It allows us to go about our happy, merry, ignorant way until the walls crash down around us and we’re crying in to a pillow (or worse) because we can’t afford the situation we find ourselves in.
I’ll be thinking a lot of about my own self delusions as I start to think about setting New Year’s Resolutions. What am I intentionally ignoring? What do I hope will go away but give no effort to making that actually happen? What am I oblivious to?
And… what means do I have in my life to distract myself from the reality of my situation?