As a kid, what hurt my noggin most was choosing the gift I most wanted to get from the someones who loved me: my parents.
Each time my birthday — December 28 — drew close, my parents drew inspiration from “Let’s Make a Deal.”
It was a perennial mind game. Everyone I know born around my birthdate played some version as well.
I call it “The Choice.”
Would I rather get two perfectly sound gifts — one b-day, one Hanukkah — or go for the single allegedly awesomer mystery gift that would be for both?
Each time, the voice in my head chattered out of control. Yet each time I chose the supposed super surprise behind the curtain.
The wait for the reveal was killer.
Luckily I never got zonked.
I usually got whatever toy of the moment had me under its spell, thanks to the slick Saturday morning commercials-as-cartoons.
But my mind didn’t rest without knowing what two gifts I passed up. I begged and prodded for the tell, but my parents never budged.
The game changer came when I finally figured out the hidden truth. The two alterna-gifts were always bluffs. My parents got it right that I’d choose the big payoff. Surprise! They knew me well.
The following year, at “Choice” time, I surprised them with a reveal of my own: The fix was in and I knew it.
Then, out of the blue, it’s game over. They suddenly realize I’m now past the cutoff age for Hanukkah gifts, I’m told, since they’re traditionally given only to the young.
Looking back, I’m grateful for all the gifts I received, and any others I could’ve have gotten.
Today, the best gift choice — and headache cure — starts not in my head, but my heart.
It’s the greatest gift all of us can give those we love — and those who love us: The choice to be more of our true selves. Fully present. Never hidden. Always open. Zero guesswork.
The choice to be the real you is the secret to the game of life.
Choose to reclaim your gifts, and commit to share all with love.
It’s time to play.