Lessons Learned: Summertime Blues

It’s hard to believe that summer is near the end. I used to say that summer was the only time that flew by, but now I think pretty much all months disappear within a blink of an eye—no matter the season. I think the reason why summer ending has more of an effect on me today is because I know that the sunny days, warm air, sandals, light clothes, and camping will soon be saying goodbye.

I’m not a big fan of having to bundle up in a coat, gloves, scarf, and heavy boots in the winter months. I don’t like having to leave 15-20 minutes early to go to work because of ice and snow on the roads. I always think twice about leaving the house because it’s too dark or too cold to go out. Not to mention how much fun it is to shiver in your car when you’re waiting for it to warm up. And the freedom of interacting with the outdoors is limited. I’ll open the door every once in a while in the winter time to let the fresh air in, but it’s not too often.

So with summer leaving, I have to embrace winter and expect what’s coming. I know once the colder weather is here, I’ll embrace it. Still, I get to have my heavy sighs now. I get dibs on one day for the summertime blues.

Lessons Learned: Never Expect

One thing I learned later in life is that you can’t let expectations rule your life. I have found that every time I had expected an event to happen exactly as I’d pictured it in my head, it never turns out that way. The same is said when I’ve expected a person to behave a certain way or to follow through on their promises. I’ve usually been disappointed. I’ve learned that I can control the outcome by not expecting. And now, my daughter has had to learn the same.

A good example occurred this weekend when my daughter had her bachelorette party. The person who hosted the party had set the theme for the party, had many fun ideas on what they were going to do, and how she was going to invite all these people to attend. My daughter was super excited. As it turned out, the invites weren’t sent out until three days before the event (so many couldn’t go), there was no time listed on the invitation as to when it started (which caused confusion), and not everyone received the invite. As my daughter started questioning what was going on, she found out that the theme had fizzled and the fun events had never been set up. Instead, the host had no plan. They would meet at her house and then go out to the bars. My daughter was pretty upset, and I don’t blame her. This was her night to get out and shine.

I gave her my talk about expectations. I told her that she would have to start the evening with a different mindset. If she stayed upset, she wouldn’t have a good time. Instead, she had to go with the flow and enjoy herself. The night could be fun in a different way. I think my daughter learned a few lessons that night. She did have some fun with the four that did show up. One of them was her stepsister who she doesn’t get to hang out with very often. For that, the evening was worth it. I think my daughter handled the evening well. She also learned that she had to let go of being upset with the host. My daughter knew that changing her mindset was better than letting it boil inside her.

There’s nothing wrong with being excited for an event. You should expect to have fun. Go with the flow, talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to, or dance your heart away. Some of my best memories are ones that I didn’t have any expectations on how the night would play out or expect how people would behave. One included dancing on a coffee table with music blaring on the stereo at a small get-together. Another, more recent, was watching my grandson on Friday afternoon. I had expected to get many of my chores done that afternoon until I found out my daughter was arriving early and needed me to watch him. Instead of being upset or worked up about getting my chores done, I changed my mindset. And, I enjoyed every minute of being with my grandson.

Lessons Learned: Perfect Timing

I was late getting out of work today due to an issue that needed attention. My husband was waiting for me in his car and in a no park zone (we carpool together). I rushed out and got in the car. I could tell he was pissed. Mainly because security was out patrolling the area and he thought he was going to get a ticket. I kept quiet, knowing that he was steaming as he sped off. And then, when we were at the light to turn, we both saw the bumper sticker on the car in front of us. It read: #mellowthefukout.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Luckily, my husband did too.

Lessons Learned: Being Happy

I decided to look up the word “happy” when hearing a few people say how unhappy they are in life. So what is the best way to being happy? Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com, defines “Happy” in three ways:

Being pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.
This is the easiest to achieve. Little moments can bring definite joy in life. It can be an indirect feeling or sheer elation. Some moments of happiness are upfront and in your face, while others need to be drawn out. If you always let negative feelings come in, it’s harder to see the positive ones. Each night, think about what made you happy that day. If you weren’t happy, was it because of your attitude? Or, were you happy just being miserable? Hint: Acceptance is the first stage to recovery!

Showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
This one is achievable but still requires work. Showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment can be a simple gesture that can go a long way for you and your recipient. But how can you make someone else feel happy if you’re not? What if you try to do your best but it comes out wrong?

My suggestion is don’t think about it so hard. Just do it. If you know that your mom likes flowers then surprise her with a colorful bouquet. Watch her face light up. If your neighbor’s wife is suffering an illness, bring them over a meal. Leave gratitude out of the picture. Do it because it makes you happy to help them out. A bonus is they’ll be happy because they have such a great neighbor.

Smiling can go a long way too. I love smiling at my grandson when he’s been crying or when he just wakes up from a nap. Seeing his mood lift and his face turn bright always makes me happy.

The pleasure and enjoyment because of your life situation
I believe this is where most people rate their happiness, and the one that is misinterpreted the most. I don’t believe there is a cut and dry “happiness” but more of a general, inside feeling.

If you are unhappy, think about your life-long efforts or situation. How did you get there? Did you or someone else weigh you down with too much responsibility? Are you letting peer pressure or ego get in the way so you’re blind to what true happiness is?

Just remember that sometimes the harder stuff, the life situation happiness, really isn’t so hard. Your happiness may be within you but is waiting to be pulled out. Take a moment to give yourself time to see and feel it. Define your happiness. Consider all three situations listed above, apply them all, and let that be your path.