Saturday, December 29, 2012

How my life is like a tray of dehydrated apples.


I was loading the dehydrator one day this fall.  I dried apples again, of course, for days and days this fall, trying to make sure I will have plenty to snack on all winter.  For a while there I had it going every morning and every night.  One day I noticed something interesting.  Every morning I loaded each try as full with apples as I could without overlapping the pieces.


And then every night I turned it off and opened it up, and this is what I saw.


Hardly any apples at all!


It occurred to me that this is a lot like my life feels.  Every day it feels like I am packing my life as full as possible, even layering things on top of each other sometimes.  But then at night when I look back on my day, it looks much more like the tray of dried apples—like there is hardly anything there.


Russ and I had one of our (thankfully) rare fights a couple of weeks ago.  One of the interesting realizations that came from this disagreement was seeing how much expectation I pack into my life without ever consciously being aware of it.  I realized (in a very low moment) that to some degree, I feel like a failure every single day.  I was a little shocked by this awareness.  Later as I analyzed my feelings more I realized that many of the expectations that I have for myself are set as absolutes.  Things like:

  • clean the house today
  • do the laundry today
  • fix a delicious and nutritious dinner
  • make sure the family dinner time is warm and bonding
  • unpack more boxes
  • make sure all of the homeschool things get done

and those are just a few. 

As I thought about all of these expectations I realized that there is never a way I can succeed at most of these most of the time—at least not the way they’re set up in my mind.  Some of these things are simply a work in progress by definition.  As I am cleaning one part of the house, some other part of the house is being un-cleaned.  I never get all of the laundry done in one day (and my kids do their own laundry) and even if I do, by that night there’s more laundry again.  I may succeed at fixing a delicious and nutritious dinner one day, but the next day I have to prove myself again or I fail. 

Expectations seem like a good idea.  You know, dream big, aim high, reach for the stars, etc.  But I’m just not so sure, when I see that I am defining and condemning myself all day every day, without even being aware of it,  that I’m doing myself any favors.

Maybe one of my goals for this year should be to examine the “goals” (expectations) that are already running in my mind (like unseen background programs on a computer) and see if I can stop setting myself up for failure all of the time…

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