Monday, February 22, 2010

Taking It Easy

If there is one running thought I would like to remind myself of these days, it would be to keep my expectations low. I am a perfectionist, and when things don't work I think I'm a failure. I set myself up for that all the time. Having a toddler definitely requires a schedule, but there is a lot of stuff that needs to happen in one short day. If I am off by even 20 minutes, she lets me know. If she is hungry or tired, she will make herself heard. But, because I'm human, I cannot do it "right" everyday. Today, I am allowing myself to screw up.

Recently a friend and I were talking about expectations. We were sharing the usual banter of how hard it can be at times. A few minutes into talking we started realizing how much of this crap we put on ourselves. The society we live in puts a lot ideas into our heads about how things should look. We constantly want (and think we need) to acquire more, bigger, and better things.

A study was done not that long ago that showed that Denmark as a country had the happiest people. The biggest reason for that is that they don't have such huge expectations. When they buy houses, they buy for life. They don't buy it and consider how much it will resell for, or how in a few years they will upgrade to a nicer one. They live in the moment and are content with what they have.

I'm not saying we shouldn't all have high standards. I enjoy nice things. I love my high thread count sheets, my expensive sunscreen, and will only use the "best" diapers on my daughter, but if I couldn't have those things I wouldn't suffer. If you ask a lot of friends of mine what their best childhood memory was, they would probably say summer camp. A few weeks away in the woods with nothing but fun and friends. No phones, no computer, no shopping and yet it was the time of their lives.

I am going to try and take a few minutes everyday and lower my expectations. When it all hits the fan, I am not going to hit the fan too. When my daughter had a meltdown today, I simply observed and then acknowledged her struggle. I didn't rush to fix it and put her back together. We fall apart. We are human. It's nice to expect a little less than the best. I think if I can end my day saying I did what I could today -- that is a success.

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