Last week, my mother gifted me with a COVID key.
You might be wondering what that is. Let me explain.
For years—really as long as I can remember—my mom has been giving everyone in my family a Christmas gift that always includes a new invention she found while watching QVC.
If you don’t know what QVC is, maybe you have watched the movie Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, just know that QVC is one of the major shopping channels on cable TV.
Anyways, our family has named mom’s yearly gift the “QVC gift of the year.”
My mother waits for some inspiration while watching the TV program. When it’s the right gift, or rather, the perfect invention in her eyes, she picks up the phone and buys in bulk; for cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, in-laws, and even a few lucky close friends.
One year, we received camo baseball caps that had built-in LED lights for walking around at night. Think Duck Dynasty meets spelunker.
One year it was a portable charging machine for every type of electronic device imaginable (the Halo actually did become popular!).
Another year, it was a flashlight on a twistable rod, which my mother nicknamed the “proctoscope.”
And most recently, 2019 brought a credit card sized emergency seat-belt cutter; just in case you drive like a maniac and get yourself in a bind!
I could go on forever with examples, but I think you get the point. Think slightly ridiculous, but fairly practical inventions, that were never quite a big enough thing to go mainstream. Probably because you don’t really need these inventions, but they are handy if you actually remember to use them.
And so, this year—while in the midst of a global crisis—I experienced a true Christmas-in-July moment when I was gifted the COVID key. A metal key that you use to touch key pads and even open doors (although I must admit I am sceptical of its capabilities).
This is the follow-up gift to the care package I received a couple months ago with my mother’s handmade, signature face masks that she designed with her 1950s sewing machine.
You see, my mom is a true one-of-a-kind innovator. She constantly came up with new ideas and inventions when I was growing up, and she still calls me with new ideas today.
“Em! Now, listen to this idea…”
God bless my father, who often got roped in to building the ideas and bringing them to fruition. The ideas that my mom did not act upon would often end up being invented and sold on the market a few short months later.
“OH MY GOD, Em, come here! This is my idea!”
In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes ideas as free-agent entities, which are floating around the Universe looking for humans to bring them into the world. If you don’t act soon enough or decide to give the idea a “go,” the idea will run to another human who might be able to help it.
I’ve never read a book that spoke to my experience so clearly.
And while I poke fun at my mom for her wacky annual Christmas gift, I must admit that I am actually quite grateful for QVC.
QVC served as one of many platforms that my mother taught me through.
I learned at a young age that money could be made doing (or inventing!) just about anything.
I learned that there are infinite possibilities for improvement.
And I learned that if you believe in your ideas enough, they would work with you to come into the world.
I learned that there is no such thing as a stupid idea. Some ideas just aren’t the ones meant to be married to you.
I learned that there is always another way to do anything (sometimes with a new gadget). In the words of Marie Forleo, “Everything is Figureoutable.”
I learned that magic could be a by-product of any mundane daily task; if only you looked at what you were doing with fresh eyes.
I learned that there was no shame to be felt in doing things differently.
I learned to embrace out-of-the-box thinking. Actually, fuck it. I learned there was no box to begin with.
So, if you’re struggling with the nudges or pulls in your heart. If you’re struggling to accept your own magic for fear that it might be too out there, please know that the crazy ones are the ones having the most fun. The crazy ones are the change-makers, the visionaries, and the catalysts.
And don’t you agree that our world needs more innovation right now?
Please don’t let that idea fly past you. Invite it over for a glass of wine. Listen. Call in the crazy.
Think: Hospitality. Generosity. Gratitude.
Your unique brand of magic makes waves that change the world, one idea at a time.
And who knows, maybe I’ll even get to meet your idea next Christmas.