9.06.2012

So Long Sweet Summer -- OR -- The Stupid Expectations We Place on Ourselves

I can smell fall in the air. If I leave the house early (which I almost never do), I have to wear a jacket. Last night I found myself hiking down a butte in the dark, because I'm refusing to believe that the sun sets before 9:00 pm. Do you ever find yourself battling regrets when September hits, and summer is undeniably slipping away? My journal entry yesterday went something like this:

I've been feeling regretful about all of my plans and intentions for the summer that went unrealized. I had such big plans. I was going to become a runner, and work on a novel, and learn to cook a million healthy meals (or at least a few.) I was going to enjoy Em and date my husband and spend time with other moms. And I did some of those things. A small portion of all of them, at least. But I've hardly been to the National Park near our home, we haven't camped once, and the date money I set aside is still sitting in my underwear drawer (planning ahead and getting a sitter is harder than I realized.) I've gone running a total of two times and got stalled on page 19 of the novel. (I know not all of these activities are summer-specific, but summer is usually my peak season of motivation and energy.) 

It appears that my expectations were woefully unrealistic and much too high.
Summer isn't totally over, so maybe I can still find some peace and satisfaction in these last few weeks of my favorite season, and adequately enjoy the sunshine before it is gone. But I can't magically transform into something I'm not. I can't morph into a person who runs every morning and does yoga every night. Who takes motherhood in stride and has perfect faith in the future. Because that's not me. I'm not there yet. So I need to stop placing impossible expectations on myself. I need to be okay with who I am RIGHT NOW. I'm trying to get closer to God, even if I'm only getting there by centimeters. I'm willing to learn and want to grow. I'm still figuring out how to be a mom, and that's okay. I'll probably be attempting that for the rest of my life, as my children reach new stages and need different things from me. I'm trying to be open to change, to possibility. I'm trying to believe that God has great things in store for me and my family. 

Too-high expectations rob of us of feeling successful. They keep our best efforts from being enough. In short, they leave us feeling lousy. Can you think of one impractical expectation you've placed on yourself that you can modify or relinquish?