Thursday, January 1, 2015

Managing Expectations

My motto for a while now (like decades?) has been the following:

If you lower your expectations enough, you'll be happy with anything.

Although others may not agree, I sincerely believe this is a very healthy habit and the key to a happier life. If the new husband bought you a fan for your birthday and you were sad, your expectations were too high (True story--he really was trying to be thoughtful).  If the piles of paper on every surface in your house are making you crazy, you'd be happier if you lowered your expectations.  If you've exercised every day for a whole week and haven't lost that pesky 50 pounds you've been carrying around since your college sophomore was a newborn, lower your expectations.  See how that works?    I think it's especially true this time of year.  

I love Christmas.  Well, to be truthful, I love aspects of Christmas.  Other aspects of the season I don't like so much.  Moms generally bear the weight of this season--the cooking, the cleaning, the hostessing, the party preparations, the family photo scheduling, the outfit assembling, the gift planning/shopping/purchasing, the card addressing, the house decorating, the candy making, the post office torture session visits.  The advent of social media and Pinterest makes it even worse.  If you have felt compelled to make vintage toy truck Christmas tree vignettes, Christmas ball ornament wreaths or Grinch fruit kabobs, you know what I'm talking about.

That's not what I love about Christmas. What I love about Christmas is twinkle lights in the peaceful early morning dawn.  Peppermint Mocha coffee in a favorite mug.  I love cinnamon candles, big all day fires in the fireplace, my homemade fudge, Buddy the Elf, my man's homemade Christmas cookies, It's a Wonderful Life, my big kids in new pjs hanging around staring at their phones and a few consecutive days off to enjoy all those things.  In other words, the things I've grown to love about the holiday season don't cost a lot of money and are not part of the hype and hurry that's overtaken the last three months of the year.

And still I feel the squeezing panic to make it all perfect--the perfect gift delivered like a concierge delivers on the demands of a persnickety hotel guest, perfect food worthy of a Southern Living cover (even though cooking is not really my thing), perfect family gatherings (even though that's rarely happened in the history of....EVER......for GENERATIONS on either side).  I feel it every.single.year.  Frankly, trying to make things perfect for others ruins it me and, ultimately, also for them because I get mad when they are not thrilled or appropriately grateful or appropriately helpful.  It's all not fair and not good and not working.

So why hasn't my motto already kicked in?  I don't really know.  But I'm implementing it now.

Merry Christmas (and by "merry" I mean "contented, happy with what we have, grateful to be alive")

1 comment:

  1. Love this... wishing you a Happy New Year. Can't wait to read more of your blogs and share!


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