I enjoy getting gifts from people. I appreciate that there are people in my life who want to make me happy. That is truly lovely. Unfortunately I cannot deal with “stuff”. While I appreciate the thought someone has paid me “Oh they’ll like this” the physical object can become a problem in my life. If it’s not something I need it will be archived in my front room for years. It may seem like I’m lazy or a hoarder but I’m not. Stuff needs to be sorted immediately or added to my task list with a nagging reminder to get it done otherwise it never will be.
I have a drawer with some gifts from last Christmas in that hasn’t been touched since I put them there last Christmas. They disappeared from my mind and took up space in my house. There are bags in the front room waiting to go to the charity store from July… 2019. I tried once but the stores were full. I am waiting for my brain to realise that this is an important task and do it. Until that time those bags are invisible to me or at least the task is. In another cupboard there are Christmas presents from 4 years ago that I haven’t dealt with. I’m not a hoarder. I have Executive Function Disorder / Dysfunction. It affects many neurodivergent people (autistic people and people with ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, OCD, Tourettes).
In short Executive Function is that part of your brain that helps you do your morning / evening routine every day. Brush your teeth. Eat breakfast. Shower. Do the cat litter. Pay bills. Send invoices. Those little things you might not even consciously notice you are doing because it is muscle memory. For an neurodivergent person their muscles do not easily remember.
What can be done?
Instead of physical products, which could be single use plastic items in plastic packaging, why not donate to a charity? Think about what charity would mean something to the person and donate in their name. Doing good in someone’s name would be a great birthday present.
Alternatively there are many digital gift cards you can get. There are ones for Apple or Android users so people can use your generosity to pay for an app subscription, phone update, music or movie and so on. Virtually (eh eh) every game store has a similar gift card feature. Do not buy those single use plastic cards from a supermarket. A virtual gift card is fine. It’s the thought right? It isn’t the physicality of the gift. It’s the thought.
You could setup an Amazon wish list. There are 3rd party wish list services if you don’t want to give money to big Amazon. If you need to get someone something physical check if they have a wish list so you know your gift is something they need.
How can I be better?
- Use a task manager
- Either do something right away or capture it in a task manager and set a due date
- Listen when a task manager reminds you of a task
- Actually do the darn task
- Seriously, listen and do tasks
It’s my birthday on Tuesday. Maybe I’ll treat myself to some decluttering? sets reminder in 3 different apps for 3 different times In all likelihood I’m going to forget or not get around to doing anything because <condition>. If you’d like to do some good in my name here are some charities to support.
- Gaming Charity Supporting the Physically Disabled | SpecialEffect
- Mind. We’re fighting for mental health. For support. For respect. For you.
- Autism Together – Services for adults with autism and their loved ones
- Mermaids. Helping gender-diverse kids, young people and their families since 1995.