Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Dear Friends

When I think back on what used to stress me out, I can't believe I'm the same person. Hosting parties would turn me into an anxiety-ridden maniac, and even the thought of planning a camping trip with my husband and two boys was enough to send me into a tailspin! Thankfully, somewhere along the way, I learned to adjust my expectations to fit reality, and this has helped me with so much more than hosting dinner parties. By figuring out what's really important to both me and my family, I've discovered that I don't always have to dot every "i" and cross every "t" to accomplish what needs to be done. That's why I was more than surprised when Expectations, with a capital E, tripped me up recently. Last week my husband had outpatient surgery. For days before he went in I decluttered and cleaned the house, planned what I would cook (especially important since cooking is not my strong suit), stocked the refrigerator and pantry, went to his pre-op appt., and took notes. In short, I did everything I could to be ready in my little "I'm June Cleaver" fantasy.

Surgery went well, and once we got home and he was comfortably ensconced on the couch, I started making my homemade chicken soup. Before too long the soup was ready, but when I looked at the mountain of dishes I had created, my heart sank a little, since of course my energy was plummeting too. Who would be doing those dishes? Well, my very own self-turned-into-June-Cleaver of course!

I won't go into the gory details of what happened over the next few days, but suffice it to say that it was more of the same. No surprise that I was spent, exhausted, and in a pretty icky mood. Now I hope this doesn't come across as complaining, but after doing dishes, walking dogs, making meals — and trying to do it all really quietly so my husband could rest — it finally dawned on me that perhaps my Expectations were just a teensy tiny bit unrealistic. Since the "time fairy" had not magically doubled the hours in my day, why did I think that I could do what I normally do plus what my husband does, which is, fortunately, a lot!

Thankfully, I stopped and went into the garden. Raking leaves and filling trashcans was just what I needed to bring my shoulders down from around my ears. Then I settled into a long, hot bath and finally curled up on the couch to finish a book.

Well, it's been a week now, and my husband is doing great. While there's still a mountain of stuff to be done, I learned a thing or two from this experience: to take some shortcuts when you're so busy that your head's spinning, like ordering take-out instead of making The Best Chicken Soup Ever. And when you're taking care of someone else, you need to take some time to take care of yourself, too.

If you find yourself similarly juggling lots of things in the air while trying to meet those Expectations that might just be a tad out of reach, take a deep breath and chop those expectations back down to manageable size. You'll be so glad you did!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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