Blog

Managing expectations

What a year it’s been. I’ve worked hard to make sure that my kids have had a normal as possible existence in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and as one friend of mine said: it takes an immense amount of energy to do so.

Walking in the woods

Or does it? Doesn’t life require an immense amount of energy most of the time?

The period between Halloween and Chinese New Year, for our family, is a constant barrage of generosity, sweets, delicious food and celebrations. We have birthdays, holidays and traditions all packed into a few months of the year. Each time the season arrives I imagine I’ll finally execute the calm, hand-crafted time where just being together is enough. No need for presents, parties, candy, cakes or special recipes. No alcohol. Lots of exercise and low/no tech activities. All handmade gifts.

Something like that.

If there was anytime I could achieve this lofty goal of a stress free, handmade holiday time of pure joy it would be during a covid lockdown where all the other superfluous demands of the season weren’t possible or allowed.

It has been long said that expectations breed resentment. But not having any expectations is unrealistic so we land at managing expectations. We have been coached to expect that a New Year means a new beginning and that all that was wrong or difficult will vanish at the stroke of midnight. We can set goals and intentions once again that will carry us to being better human beings.

Winter beach

Now, as 2021 is more than a month into existence, we see that it’s not better or different. It just is. Instead of being disappointed that midnight wasn’t magic, it’s realizing that the magic key lies in the everyday, little decisions we make and not grand resolutions or unrealistic ideals. It’s about living our values, whatever they may be, instead just talking about them. A few handmade gifts instead of all of them. Getting outside each day instead of committing to run a marathon. It’s a mix of hope and reality, joy and hard work, reaching far and being ok with where we land. The pandemic has glimmers of an ending but there’s still a long road ahead. It will still be a long time before I can hug my family or share a meal (like actually sharing a bite) with a friend.

So I will continue to manage my days, my hopes, fears and expectations. I’ll still dream big and probably take on more than I should. I’ll still aspire to that handmade holiday (how many pj pants do my kids actually need?) and be realistic while living our values.

Handmade pj bottoms

I look forward to when this period of time only lives in our collective memory but I don’t expect any time soon.