Man, life!…..What a crazy, unexpected ride it can be from day-to-day.
We blast out of bed in the morning, prompted by some version of an annoying alarm clock (in our house the screaming tones of our twins toddlers desperate to leave the confines of their cots).
Tea or coffee consumed and partially now functioning, we head off to ‘work’. Put in a decent day, pick up kids, groceries, cook, eat, clean, bed ZZZZ.
Of course this weekly whirlwind contains plenty more than the mere expected.
You could say our pathway in life has on some level been mapped out by time, experience, a series of random events and a blur of haphazard memories trapped in a busy working mind.
A mind that is often hell bent on foolishly fantasising how things could, would or should be in an attempt to ‘plan’ out our days, weeks, months, years.
I am ashamed to admit that nearly everyday I fall into that trap of playing it out between fiction V’s fact. The imagined V’s the reality. The envisaged or even expectant Believer facing off against that determined and gutsy brute, Life.
Maybe I’m the only one who seems to forget this in epic ‘Groundhog Day’ proportions, but it seems I’m a slow learner when it comes to letting go of life and allowing the mantra ‘expect the unexpected’ to take root.
Let me give you an example.
It is a fleeting but always heartfelt moment on a blissful Friday evening, when I envision how our Saturday morning will go.
Waking from a restful sleep, to the comfort of a calming cuppa, fluffy pancakes maybe with some maple syrup, while the kids quietly sip on their juice and happily munch on their toast without a complaint or need to require ANYTHING IMMEDIATELY from me!
A quiet conversation with my husband, before a leisurely trip to the beach, without fighting to find a car park first.
(cue record screeching sound effects)
Of course it is all but a hopeful dream and within minutes of waking bleary-eyed (to aforementioned screaming 2 year olds at 5 am) you can see the glorious vision swiftly slipping by.
Add to that a grumpy husband who has to attend to said toddler, a cuppa gone cold and Pancakes….forget that, what the hell was I thinking!
I don’t know exactly what version of my life I envisioned or where those rather hopeful imaginings came from, but they existed (and more to the point, still do) yet life persists in getting in the way.
The real stuff
We plan a fun night out and the kids get sick. The holiday away was meant to be relaxing, but the weather really mucked things up.
The job seemed perfect for me, but it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I love the kids, but geez this parenting gig is tough.
And when I really stop to take this all in (let’s face it, I’d rather remain in denial) it’s apparent this envisioned V’s reality dilemma seems to apply to nearly all aspects of life (well mine anyway);
- Work/ career
- Special occasions
The weather doesn’t need to turn your holiday to pot and maybe your job is pretty good, what job is perfect? Yes parenting is hard, nobody said it would be easy.
And I agree. You can make a conscious decision at times to choose how you view things……sometimes.
What I’m more curious about though, is how I don’t ever seem to learn from experience. That things very rarely go to plan. That the more I indulge in imaginings, the more frustrated I tend to get.
When will I stop trying to ‘create’ life and instead just live it? Why can’t I just be satisfied with my lot (which is pretty wonderful) and let things be? Go with the flow, chill-ax, whatevs, YOLO.
Am I the only one?
Taking stock from friends and family means I’m slightly comforted by the fact that it’s not just me who has a tendency of doing this.
I think to some extent it’s in our nature to want to plan, play out, imagine, create in our minds what we want our life to be like.
Our very human behaviour is directed by choice and purpose, to meet our basic needs.
‘all of our behavior is chosen as we continually attempt to meet one or more of the five basic needs that are part of our genetic structure’ Dr. William Glasser.
To some degree I think it’s healthy to imagine, envisage and simply ponder how you would like thing to be.
This is part way to making and achieving goals, how direction is found and fulfilment reached.
But it’s clear that it can also be a rod of your own making, for your own back.
So where to from here?
This is the tricky part. It’s become so ingrained in my personal make up that I figure it could be tricky to shift.
And if I’m honest, there is a part of me that enjoys this ‘guilty pleasure’ of imagining my day, my week, my life.
It fills me with hope and lets me value the simple fact that I have a heartbeat, an active mind hence a what the-heck-can’t-I-achieve attitude (some days at least).
So like chocolate or a fine wine, it’s something I’ll have to ration out and view with a degree of caution. They’re tantalising, morrish and easy to overindulge in.
So to avoid the ‘play-it-out-in-my-head hangover’ from the night before and in an attempt to curb this habit, I’m going to avoid the binge and give in to the urge occasionally to envisage how things might be.
I’ll try to let life happen as they say. Take the raw and the real with small doses of the imagined.
Gently steer myself in a direction of my choosing and hopefully remind myself that this is what makes life eventful and fascinating ……the unexpected.