12/26/13

Spoil . . .

I recently  chatted with someone about food and food choices.

Later in the evening I started thinking about food again (this is my constant obsession, people) and how few fruits and vegetables I eat and the fact that one of the "main" (to show you how weird my brain is) reasons I don't buy and eat more produce is because it spoils "so quickly."

This, of course, morphed in to an inner-monologue soap box rant about spoiling (that may have referenced Elf on the Shelf and Christmas traditions in general - 'tis the season).

Anywho . . . the point (yes - this blog post technically starts here) is - If you look up the word "spoil" in the dictionary (or Google it) you will find that there are several definitions . . .
  1. (Verb 1) Diminish or destroy the value or quality of
  2. (Verb 2) Harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent
  3. (Noun 1) Goods stolen or taken forcibly from a person or place
  4. (Noun 2) Waste material produce from an excavation 
None of them are good. None of them are anything you would really want. The interesting part? All four of them are about human behavior and decision making. There are not a lot of words in the English language that are nouns and verbs. There are even less words that are both and that all seem negative. There are even fewer that are negative because of human behavior or decisions.

No one wants to be associated with spoil. You don't want to ruin or misuse things, you don't want to harm a child as they make their way to "self" and you don't ever want waste materials or things you only came in to through attack. Ideally you want the opposite of all these things . . . you want to improve the value of things, raise great children, earn things through hard work and times of peace and develop things without a lot of unwanted waste or leftover stuff. 

Yet lots of people want to be "spoiled" or to "spoil" someone. Often in adult relationships, frankly. They want to deluge them with gifts and affection, time and attention. They want to make their lives easier in one or more ways. They want that to be reciprocal and it is celebrated and thought to be the key to a long and healthy relationship.

I don't judge (all that often (that is sarcasm)) and I see the grand gesture associated with spoilage. I think if you can find a healthy balance between spoiling and being spoiled and as long as it is only in positive and productive ways that make everyone happy you should embrace spoiling. But how often do we "spoil" in misguided ways? How often is "spoiling" left unseen or unappreciated? How often does "spoiling" come out as wasteful as so much excavation product? 

I want to be present in a relationship. Kind. Give and take. I don't know if I've ever really aspired to shared spoiling. It is almost too hard to do it "right" and to have it be something that is truly mutual and truly positive. 

All too often you're just left with a bag of ruined Cuties and hurt feelings.