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.

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Lessons Learned: Winter Now & Then

I had to laugh on Sunday morning when I found a snippet that I wrote a few years ago on wintertime. I wrote how I used to love wearing socks outside in the snow without shoes. I liked the feel of the sponginess as I walked. During middle school (Junior High) I would walk the half mile to the bus stop without a hat because I didn’t want to mess up my hair. I wore platform shoes and skirts without thinking about the cold or ice. My neighbor, who walked with me, wouldn’t wear a hat either. He would leave his house with wet hair. His hair turned to frost by the time we got to the bus stop. Out snowmobiling, we (the girls) would have to take off our one-piece snowmobile suit to go to the bathroom in the woods. On one day when the wind chill was minus 100 degrees (Fahrenheit), a friend put burning coals under his car to warm the engine so he could get out of the house and see friends. I’m not saying that was a brilliant idea on his part, but he wasn’t going to let winter get the best of him.

I would say that I had the same attitude. Even when I froze my bare skin, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I remember how my ears, fingers, toes, and thighs would burn from the cold. I’d sit by the radiator to try and warm up. My limbs would ache as they came back to life. And then I’d do it again, without thinking of the effects or how I could prevent it. Winter was winter.

Now, I’ll still go outside without proper shoes, but only to get the mail. However, I do have my fur-lined boots to keep my feet warm. I will not wear high heels in the snow or on ice. I’m still not keen on hats, but I will wear earmuffs and a scarf. If it’s really cold, I will wear the hood on my coat. I am happy now to have a car with all-wheel drive tucked into a garage at home. I like the comfort of getting in the car without scraping a thick layer of ice off my windshield or having to pray that I’d make it up the hill as the back tires are spinning and going nowhere. And if needed, I’m okay with changing plans until the temperature rises above zero. I’m not a snowbird yet, but I keep thinking about warm days with plenty of sunshine.

After reading my snippet, I realized how I can’t forget the fun to be had in the winter months. Experiencing the cold can be invigorating and enjoyable. There’s nothing like putting your face up to the sky and letting the tiny ice pellets stick to your skin or to feel the breeze as you tube or ski down a hill. My husband wants to go out and create snow angels. I think I’m gonna have to do that. Winter is winter.

Have Fun!

Previously I wrote about life getting too busy and how at times you can forget to breathe. This is the same with having a good time. My husband and I have been constantly on the go for the last….okay, way too many weeks to count. Spring disappeared. June came and went. Soon the 4th of July waved to us like a breeze passing by. When you’re constantly on the go, you forget to stop and have some good fun, just like taking the time to unwind.

For Mike and me, our fun came last Friday. We went to our friend’s annual birthday “party barge” event. Each year we get together for Colleen’s birthday, hang out on Tommy’s pontoon boat, and have plenty of snacks, drinks, and music. It’s like heaven: listening to Van Morrison or Johnny Cash, watching the water roll from the boat, the shoreline drift by, and the bridge graze above us as we cross under the highway. Normally we boat across three connecting lakes, maybe stop to swim, and do pick-ups for those who can’t take the afternoon off from work. This year, we had a smaller crew. Instead of the normal ten, we started with five. We also kept our adventure to the first lake, closest to Tommy’s dock. He was having issues with his boat, leaving him stranded a few times already that year while on the lake. We had no problem anchoring the boat and just chilling that hot afternoon. Remember, sometimes little faults can steer you in a better direction. Maybe this year we needed that smaller group to reconnect with ourselves.

Splish-splash in the water we go. Two on floaties and the rest with life jackets, we gathered in the water to relax and float. We were like little kids. What fun to kick up your legs, run your arms through the water, and let the sun shine on your face. We didn’t care when Tommy left the four of us in the middle of the lake to go pick up the late-comer. We joked and talked about everything from the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James to the clouds hanging in the sky (also turning gray).

We had no worries or cares for the day. It didn’t matter that our ages ranged from 49 to 55 or that we looked like drowned rats. We sure felt good as age disappeared into youth. Our smiles grew, we laughed a lot, and had much needed fun.

Happy 50th Birthday, Colleen!