This article first appeared on PublicHouse.sg.
In this day and age, are we really suffering for want of… anything?
Long before budget airlines, it was a very big deal when people would travel to other countries. So much so that friends and family would go to great lengths to show up at the airport just to wish that person ‘bon voyage’. Often the departing person would be asked to seek out and bring back a particular spice, cosmetic, or other luxury item, because such items were either unavailable or exorbitantly priced in Singapore. This practice still exists, and I’ve had experience of it from every angle.
I often wonder, when hearing of such a transaction, whether the person delivering the goods is doing so willingly or reluctantly. Indeed, when would buying something in a foreign land for somebody you know be a privilege, an honour, or even a joy, as opposed to it being a mild irritation, slight inconvenience, or massive aggravation? I believe it boils down to the relationship you have with the person.
Many years ago, when a professional acquaintance of mine learned that I was going to the UK, she shamelessly asked me to meet her friend there who would in turn pass me clothes intended for her newborn child. It won’t be many things, she promised.
Yet, I found myself having to text this friend’s friend countless times, back and fro, having to sit down with her for tea to exchange pleasantries, and essentially wasting my time when I would rather be roaming the streets of London, enjoying the sights or getting immersed in the different , new (to me, at least) culture. I was dismayed to find that the clothes for her newborn turned out to include “Guess” jeans overalls, t-shirts, and even baby shoes. I also had to wait while the friend dashed into a Guess store and thrust yet another item into my hands – a gift for the baby, she cooed.
I had managed to squeeze everything I was to bring into one backpack so that I could travel lightly. Now, all these baby items effectively took up more than a quarter of my luggage space, even after wrapping them as tightly as I could. I wanted to cry. I had no space left to carry any souvenirs for myself!
Since then, I have not offered to buy or bring anything back for anyone unless I feel am utterly moved to. When friends ask if I want anything because they are going to x or y country, I usually tell them no. Truly, there is nothing I absolutely must have – I am not brand conscious and I certainly can obtain whatever I want myself.
When you travel, are you busy buying things for people you don’t even care for so as not to disappoint them, and checking off all the must-see places on your list, or are you actively seeking out what you really desire to do? Have you ever returned from a holiday feeling as though you need another one? Did you take the time to smell the roses? If your intention was to relax or rekindhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifle your romantic relationship, were you able to, or did you find yourself getting caught up with what the Joneses said you ought to? Check within yourself. Are you doing for the sake of doing? Or do you really, really want to? Pause. Breathe. Check within. This is a practice we should hone – for life.
Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.