Blog Life Lifehacks Relationship

Give > Receive

Our parents or grandparents taught us this principle, often in the middle of our requests for some grand thing.

“Grandpa” a photo of a woman kissing an old man’s cheek outside an apartment building or storefront in a busy urban environment. He smiles and you can tell she loves him.  Photo by Treddy Chen on Unsplash
grandpa”, photo by Trendy Chen on Unsplash.

At the time, we probably didn’t hear it or felt it was a cop out or distraction technique to change the subject from the thing we begged for.

“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To say I didn’t understand his urging—that giving was somehow better than receiving—is an understatement.

If you’re like me, this puffy, patriarchal principle seemed something passed down from another time, an age gone by. A time when things were scarce, not plentiful. A time when pictures were black and white, not color, and things were hard to come by, not easy to accumulate like they were in my childhood (and easier than ever now). To me, this advice was from a bygone time marked by saving everything and “making due” (whatever a 9 year old could make of that strange phrase), and of a long, faraway look in my grandfather’s eyes when he thought perhaps too much of those hard, lean times when he was a boy.

(But perhaps, they are times more and more of us may be facing again)

Of course, this proberb’s lesson, as they are wont to do, seems to sweeten and perfect itself over time.

Giving Of Your Time Actually Gives You More Time

Our rise and grind culture of worshipping at the altar of the eternal hustle dissuades this belief, but for centuries, people have found that the more you see and be with other people around you, or open yourself up to the humanity that is present when we just stop and listen for it, the happier and more abundant your life will become.

And I argue you will have more time, and you will be more productive with your time because you will be happier, think clearer and have more energy.

If you are struggling, lonely, find yourself frustrated, anxious or afraid, I am moved by the calm that can come as you pull yourself away from the tightening, shrinkingly claustrophobic cares and concerns of your own life and open your heart wider to allow the life of another.

Perhaps a forgotten friend or a struggling neighbor.

A widow or a stranger.

Even getting to know your postal worker or the Amazon delivery person, or making a concerted effort to graciously thank your DoorDash delivery person can open your heart a little wider than before.

Thanking employees your come across for working and brightening their shift as you check out from the store or buy your take out meal can brighten your day as well as theirs. If this feels challenging to you, remember that they would probably rather be (and might need to be) home caring for a loved one rather than working, but they are deemed essential and have to work instead (which carries less and less paycheck and more and more risk these days).

In times of COVID-19, many people’s support systems are shrinking smaller and smaller. Rediscovering the joy of a phone call, letters across town like a pen pal, or baked goods delivered carefully to another’s door can lighten or brighten a day, a week or a year.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

And, it turns out, giving is much, much better than receiving.

What will you give or give up today to have peace and more happiness tomorrow?

My Favorite Things

Kindle Paperwhite

It goes without saying that, for me, the Kindle Paperwhite has been a truly excellent product. Made by Amazon, the Paperwhite fits a niche within the Kindle e-reader family that I think is truly great.

According to wikipedia, the Kindle e-reader started as a project by Amazon’s 126 lab back in 2007. Today, the king of all e-readers, the kindle boasts the ability to read more than 6 million kindle ebooks as well as any number of compatible file formats such as PDF and other files.

For a limited time only (as of this writing) it also looks like you can trade in an old kindle device and get 20% off a new one. Nice.

Why the Paperwhite?

The Paperwhite, specifically, fills a niche I love in the reading space. Some of the “features” I enjoy include:

  • Looks nice. I am not a snob, but I like my devices to look well made and feel well-constructed as well.
  • NO notifications! I can finally read interrupted!
  • The gentle screen lighting works for night reading (even in bed), on airplane flights, and even in bright sunlight.
  • Audiobook listening with whispersync! with any bluetooth headphones (I pair my airpods) or your car stereo to listen to your books when your eyes are busy.
  • The weight is perfect. It feels lighter than a book, about the same as a phone, but balanced perfectly for one hand to use.
  • It’s waterproof, too. Just feels better when reading poolside.

The Case

I also enjoy the blue case from INFiLAND, which uses magnets to stay closed, and automatically wakes/sleeps the device on open/close. There’s several colors/options to choose from as well and they feel really great in the hand.

Tips and Hints

Pro-tip: The whispersync feature connects any kindle devices, including your phone, tablet or computer, but the real killer-app comes in when you link an audible audiobook with whispersync to your kindle books. Then you can swap between reading and listening with the flick of a button.

Add the Audible Narration to Kindle books

Pro-pro tip: If you own the kindle book already (or just bought it), often you can get the audiobook for a discount! Nice. For example, if you bought the timely Just Mercy book on Kindle today, the combined discount between the book’s selling price and the discount for adding the Audible Narration for the Just Mercy Book is about the same as buying the book at full price. NICE!

? Don’t tell amazon that this actually drops the price of the audiobook to less than one monthly credit for being an audible subscriber. Shhh.

Check It Out!

Check out the Kindle Paperwhite (Waterproof) on Amazon’s Kindle Page. Great father’s day gift for your favorite guy who can’t catch a break to read a favorite book, or who might need a slight nudge to relax or learn something new ?.

Robert Merrill

Disclaimers & Links

I am not a professional product reviewer, but I have been blogging about pro-tips, hacks, tricks, apps and other things I love since 2004 (Remember Blogspot!?).

These are some of my favorite things, and I like sharing them. Often, I will share a referral link or, affiliate link and if you purchase something after clicking the link, I might generate a little cash from it. This isn’t a trick, but if they will give you $5 for trying a product and give me $5 for taking the time to mention it, I’m in.

As always, none of the things I share are “secret”. The links I share do not add cost to products you might buy, but the companies selling them might send along a few bucks my way which I will use to pad the vacation jar. If you don’t like this idea, then feel free to rip open and find direct links on your own for these at any time.

Should you ever want to simply thank me for advising you on something you liked, or just buy me lunch, my Square Cash app link is $rahhb (get $5 for signing up, lol) or Venmo me @rahhb.