Long gone are the days when I would be asked what I wanted for Christmas and even longer gone still are those when I wouldn’t even wait to be asked but instead strike pre-emptively with a list for Santa Claus.
Looking back I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at my thirteen year old self who, while queueing in an Irish Primark store, declared firmly that she only wanted a single CD (it was 2003) for the upcoming Christmas. Whether it was parental guilt or some other adult emotion I have yet to discover I ended up getting more than that particular CD but from that year on the present pile dwindled on my express requests.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
How great, how entrepreneurial, how saviour-of-my-future would it have been to have been able to forego those teenage Christmas in order to now claim them back. As an adult the thought of someone leaving a neat heap – or let’s face it, an untidy mess would be absolutely fine too – of gifts in another room of the house would be close to the greatest moment of my twenties so far.
So to indulge in the Christmas spirit of buying (and buying into) things you can’t afford to, here is what would be on my adult Christmas list. The word adult makes it sound sexual but it definitely is not. Adult life is far too stressful and packed full of urgencies to even consider asking for anything remotely sex-related. Actually what I really think is that if you are in your late twenties and are thinking about sex you aren’t “late-twentying” correctly.
1. A house.
As a millennial it has been pointed out to me in various articles that I am more likely to have a room full of avocados than a house ever in my life. The closest I am probably going to come is when my parents pass away and, as the eldest, the family house briefly passes into my possession. A house unfurnished, in the middle of nowhere, just the bricks even, but let it be mine. Furnishings next Christmas.
2. Reunion with friends.
I have posted on this before but I one hundred percent don’t see my tiny circle of friends enough. They are scattered all over the world and in some cases I am at fault for not keeping up the contact. Perhaps, having admitted that, what I should ask for is an antidote to my pathetically shadowy presence in others’ lives. Or maybe for the gift of even less friends so I can improve technique with the ones I do have. Might regret that.
I know how fortunate I am to have all of my grandparents still alive. I am twenty eight and have yet to experience the death of a loved one. With more frequency I wish I could protect or somehow share my comparative youth with family members. Of course I am not so saintly that this Christmas wish only extends outwards: to never have to suffer any disease or illness would tick the ideal gift box for me. Call it selfish or fearful, you may well be right.
4. Painting Classes.
I paint here, using my windowsill as an imitation easel which adds an unnecessary reckless element to the endeavour, and while wearing hundreds of layers to battle the cold. The thoughts of being in an open plan, airy studio under the sun somewhere with a t-shirt on, working in a friendly silence with like-minded individuals and under the watchful eye of a teacher, seems a paradise.
I’d like to be brave enough to live the life I know will make me happy. I’d like to be able to turn down the well paying jobs because I can believe that happiness will safeguard me in future years. In August this year I started to put myself first and, as my savings dwindle and reality sets in, I know the time is coming to a close. I’d like to be courageous enough to fight it because heaven knows I am a nicer person for having made the choices I have this year.
Surely struggling to preserve your happiness is more worthwhile than struggling to pay for something you never believed in in the first place?
So, what was I thinking when I was thirteen? It’s all become very clear to me in the writing of this post. I didn’t quite have the words (my family will tell you I had plenty of others) to express it back then but what I must have known was that a single CD would be of as much value to my life as nothing at all because, ultimately, I had it in me to gift whatever I really wanted to myself. It still stands. Health, as much as those painting classes, are a choice I can make.
So it should be that with even more certainty now than I had as a teenager, I pursue for myself everything on this list.
Except the house. I’d still accept the house.