Guilt and Veruca Salt

I don’t care if I’m the only person on the planet who believes this: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a holiday movie. It’s magic and whimsy and compassion and hope and generosity – and I’m not saying anything (out loud) about which version of Roald Dahl’s book is the good version.

This year, I’ve wondered if I’ve been taught to be Veruca Salt, a child who, in the story, approaches life with the theme “I want it NOW.” Or If I’ve indoctrinated someone in my family. This year I’ve found myself going to thrift stores more often than usual. My teachers think nothing of buying multiples of something when one will do, and gifting MANY gifts when one would do, and let’s just say there are some things in their house that there are A LOT of. The person I’m worried about follows several eBay auctions a week. I unquestioningly adhered to the “more is better” philosophy for birthday, holiday, “ya done good,” “hey, will this cheer you up?” gifting to others for years.

Nothing is absolute, of course. I say “no” quickly and easily when my budget is tight. The person I worry about freely gives a helping hand and stuff to friends and family, and mostly follows those auctions to track long-term investments in collectibles. Nonetheless, it’s healthy to monitor myself and my “pupil.” Habits can solidify into compulsions, painful and frightening to reverse.

Guilt isn’t automatically bad, if it motivates positive change. I gift experiences now, as often as possible. I question consumption almost obnoxiously. Careful reframing.


About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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