Friday, January 29, 2010

Lessons in expectation

Parenthood is most definitely the hardest best thing I've ever done. While I have never doubted my decision to become a mother, I have doubted just about every other decision I've made, whether it's about returning to work full-time, living in one of the most expensive places in the country, or even moving into a two-story townhouse. Wherever I am in time or place, I almost always can be thinking of at least one other thing that I'd either rather be doing or feel like I should be doing.

It's enough to drive me over the edge -- and it did this week. I completely lost it, sobbing hysterically for about twenty minutes and continuing to have bouts of weeping periodically throughout the day until the emotion had finished draining from my body. It was an incredibly freeing experience. I realized I had been carrying around with me all of these expectations -- mostly of myself -- and every time I didn't live up to one (which was practically constantly), it was adding a small burden. Those small burdens had multiplied until I was nearly crippled beneath their weight. The release of emotion enabled me to drop that weight, and it was like I was suddenly filled with helium -- I felt so light yesterday I was nearly giddy.

Nothing had changed in my external experience. If anything, yesterday was an even crazier day -- not only did I have back-to-back meetings, I had overlapping meetings, and a doctor's appointment that included my second blood-draw of the week. When I went to pick up a prescription last night, I found out I have a deductible on brand-name scrips, and I had to spend over $100 to get this one out of hock. My response? Laughter. I walked through the day so lightly that I actually enjoyed myself. I let go of my expectation that I would get anything done, and somehow found the time to be productive in the midst of all of the meetings.

I have to laugh at myself for how many times I've had to learn this lesson the hard way. But until I truly *get* it, I suspect it will continue to keep coming up. In the interim, I'm enjoying my newfound lightness, and the way it enables me to stay fully present in my time with my son. And nothing could be a greater gift than that.

Photo: "when expectations are reversed," originally uploaded by psyberartist

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