Life gets in the way, manage your expectations....
I often write about personal experiences, and this blog reflects some recent events in my life, but I promise, there's a lesson in the end. I expected to publish different blogs last month and this one. Life got in the way. A month after my dad passed in 2018, my brother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. We were shocked and overwhelmed. Somehow, I never got the thank you cards out to my friends and family after my father's passing, since we were so wrapped up with my brother. I expected I could do everything and I would get them done. I didn't accept help. I am sorry. Life got in the way.
In the past year, there are about a dozen friends I have sworn to make more time for. I have also promised them I would take more time for myself. It never happened. I assumed I would have more free time coming. They wanted to help. I'm sorry. Life got in the way.
All of the things that everyone promises themselves that they will do; read a dozen books, take a dozen classes online, watch a dozen webinars, attend a dozen parties, lose weight, clean out a closet, wash the car, visit an old friend, volunteer more. All of those things got pushed to the, “I'll do it as soon as I get a chance” list. They still wait on the list. I expected I would eventually have some spare time. I expected I would get it done a little at a time, after all the other stuff. Life got in the way.
My brother passed. I thought I would start doing all the things I hadn't gotten to. I was going to send out the thank you cards quickly this time. (They are mostly out by the way, still have a small group, but I'm trying....) Then a good friend's son had an accident and she and her family were all I could think about (or so I thought) and I didn't get much done. I expected to jump right back into things. I wanted to jump into a hole. Life got in the way.
My friend was with her son. He was improving. They were planning to bring him home. I thought the news was getting better. Then, another friend's son passed away. The community was rocked. I thought that letting people know about the first friend's tragedy was difficult until I had to update them again. I expected the words would come easily. They didn't. I thought that things had been looking up, but they weren't yet. Life got in the way.
When I helped several people I am close to add to a generous collection in the community to get some friends through a difficult time, I asked an organizer if I needed to make a list of contributors and their addresses for the recipients of the donations. The response I got was overwhelming and enlightening. I was told, just let us know who was on the list. We don't believe that in this horrible circumstance anyone expects that (my friends) are going to focus on sending out thank you cards, and I don't think anyone that knows them would expect them to. I was elated. I always thought that! No one should have expectations of someone else, especially in times of despair. What if life got in the way?
A dear friend used to tell me, as if it was his mantra, “expectations lead to disappointments.” Over the years I have come to find this more and more to be so. The goal is not to manage life, it's to manage our expectations. We cannot expect ourselves to be perfect. We cannot expect to accomplish everything. We cannot expect that we can do it all alone, and without accepting the love and help of our friends and family. The one thing we can expect is that they are there for us no matter what. Say thank you....
I hope I just did.