Pay, Pack And Follow Christmas Hope For A Selfish Soul
A travel junkie since she was six months old, Drusilla Gillen spent 20 years as a successful garden designer, married an Army officer and now indulges her twin loves of writing and travel
“Darling, do you love me?” Tilting my chin for a kiss, I noticed a worried look upon the husband-person’s face. His eyebrow rose and I was left to justify myself against its silent enquiry.
It wasn’t my fault…i’d walked past one of Fuan Wong’s glass sculptures and fell in love. Unable to justify buying it myself, for I don’t need it, I dropped a tiny hint for my Christmas present…and husband-persons are pants at choosing presents anyway.
Satisfied with the successful manipulation of one spouse and approaching the season of goodwill to all men, I began to wonder – I was getting what I wanted for Christmas, but was it what I needed? My Mother-theMatriarch was of that wartime generation that understood the difference between want and need, both physical and mental.
And understanding what your real needs are will help you identify what’s important. Having just proved, with my pouting for a glass sculpture, Christmas is too often about physical want; when we finally understand our needs, we realise what brings health, happiness and well-being.
Women, if they’re lucky, turn into their mothers. In my case it’s minus the smoking, consumption of whiskey and obsession with hedgehogs. Mine approached Christmas smugly singing “Hurrah! Everything wrapped and ready to go. Thrice Hurrah!” Stockings were filled, the house was decor ated and she’d have popped a tray of mince pies in the oven too. Then she’d have a Christmas ‘dram’, for she was Wonder Woman and infused with festive joy.
I’m heading towards my regular Christmas Meltdown. Nothing is wrapped, the stocking filler s have vanished into the ether, there are eleventy-billion pounds of fruit to cram into Christmas cakes. And alarmingly, I don’t know where I hid the Quality Street. I can’t even be 100 per cent be sure I didn’t eat them all after a few gins last Friday. I have a monster of a turkey needing various things shoved up its rear and for some reason I appear to be in possession of every parsnip east of the Suez. There are however no sprouts, as they’re the work of the Devil.
Christmas should be a time to remember those who do not enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity. So I went off to chat to the beautiful and witty Rachael Day who, frustrated and unfulfilled by her daily routine, asked herself: “What am I doing for others?” She realised she needed to “contribute to her wider community”.
Secretly I envy people like her, for she’s an infinitely better per son than I. Rather than frittering away her time, Rachael offered her considerable skills to the Women’s Centre for Change, who work to eliminate domestic violence against women and children. Initially offering to do “anything”, the WCC now profits from her exper ience, energy and dedication.
Rachael stresses that her motivation was par tially selfish, not wanting a threeyear gap in her CV. The WCC provides an environment to use her Human Resource Management training. She has realised that her needs included the use of her skills wherever she finds her self. And she tells me , for her, the simplest way to turn the need into want is to find a cause that mak es you angry – cruelty to animals, women, children – angry enough to make you want to change it.
Far from walking away feeling a little unworthy, Rachael inspired me with her passion; cajoling me into helping with the WCC’S new Value Shop in Island Plaza and modelling some of their clothes. Perhaps approaching this season of goodwill, there is hope for my selfish soul after all. And I did promise not to sing my annual version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the husbandperson’s pants went ping”. EL
“Christmas should be a time to remember those who do not enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity”