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Thoughts For Thursday: Evolving Expectations and Reactions

August 25, 2011 · 12 comments

in Life, Thoughts For Thursday

When I was younger, I was on the go all the time. Even when I wasn’t ‘going’, every moment had a plan.

The Overly Productive “Me”

Then, as my kids got older, each moment didn’t necessarily have a predetermined purpose, but I made sure each moment was used wisely. If the kids were in school, I never took the time to read a book.  Instead, I would work on dinner, clean, pay bills, grocery shop, whatever.  However, TV, books, etc had to wait until the evening, because productivity was a must between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  (FYI, this was a rule I imposed on myself.)

The Current and Less Productive “Me”

Now that I have an eighth grader and two high-schoolers, my rules have relaxed!  If I am at sitting at a soccer practice, I no longer feel compelled to rush around and run errands.  Instead, I roll down the car windows (or sit outside), enjoy the breeze, and either write, read, or just enjoy having nothing to do but look around.  If the weather is nice when the kids are at school, I might even go out on the patio and read a magazine for an hour.  I tell you, my life is getting downright hedonistic.

Why Did My Expectations Relax?

I am not sure exactly what has given me this more relaxed attitude.  Maybe it is just life’s experience that tells me that living in the moment is important for a sane mind.  Perhaps I have gotten lazy.  All I know is that instead of worrying about what all I could get done while waiting for one of the kid’s activities to finish, I now look forward to that down time instead.  Having the opportunity to sit for 90 minutes and do whatever I want is a welcome event.  No guilt, no nothing,  just time to relax.

Perhaps if every other hour of my life wasn’t so busy I wouldn’t enjoy these free moments so much.  I know that even a few years ago I could not sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time.  Now, I have a totally different perspective, and I really appreciate the free moments that life brings me.  I do think that different experiences happen which change how important we feel certain things may be, and we don’t even realize it is happening.   This doesn’t just apply to how we spend our time, but also how we react to different life events.  I know that for me, some situations that would have stressed me out  in the past don’t even phase me at anymore.   However, I couldn’t just jump to the point I am at now by just telling myself not to worry about things.  I think I needed to have certain experiences to fully understand what is really important in life (to me), and what things are really just little nuisances.

I guess as I get older, I get a little glimpse into how many elderly people don’t seem to get upset over little things that drive some younger people crazy.  It reminds me of when I had just given birth to my first child, completely unmedicated.  When he was born and bathed, the nurse had to remove an IV and also needed to tear off some medical tape from my arm.  She apologized for the pain she was going to cause and I said “you have to be kidding me- after what I just went through, ripping off a little tape and pulling out a needle is no big deal.”  I figure that  older people probably feel the same way and think “I got through the Depression and War, I am certainly not going to let (insert complaint here) get to me”.

My View of  How Life Works

In synopsis, what I am trying to say is this:  It seems like our emotions and reactions to life change over time, and we don’t even realize it is happening.   I do believe that much of this change is caused by experiences we go through each day, some of which are more difficult than others.  These experiences will slowly shape how we live our life each day.  You can’t just go from Point A to Point Z.  You have to live through all the steps in between, and one day, you just arrive at Point Z.   At least, that is how it all seems to work to me.

So instead of rushing to get to where you want to be in life, take the time to enjoy and learn from each part of the process.  You will get to where you want to be, it just may not happen as quickly as you want it to.



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos August 25, 2011 at 8:05 am

All good thoughts, Kris.
I reflected the other day that I’m much more easy-going that I used to be, even at work. I don’t engage much – if at all – in email wars, or get emotionally riled at little things. Much better to resolve in person and with a little humor.


Husband of Everyday Tips August 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

I think as you get older you get less “smart” and more wise. When I was still under 30 I was fairly sure I knew everything. Now I feel like I know less, but understand more. Taking time each day for yourself instead of keeping to a self imposed check list is certainly wise!


The Biz of Life August 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

I think as you get older you’re able to separate out the important things from the unimportant things more clearly, and the unimportant things just slip away into oblivion as you try to hang onto the important things.


krantcents August 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

As an old(er) person, I realized early that family experiences were a priority. I think it was because my parents were always too bust! I don’t think I ever missed an event my kids participated in. I remember sitting in the bleachers for two hours watching my son’s football game, he payed just a couple minutes that day. It was a JV game and he was in the 9th grade. It feels like yesterday! It was about 21 ears ago! The “other” things can wait because this is what you will remember! BTW, he went on to play all four years of high school and he was a starter as a senior when they won the division championship.


Money Reasons August 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I know what you mean… Sometimes I wonder if I odd looking up to enjoy the shape of a cloud formation or a striking sunset, while other parents at our soccer field are herding their kids to get in the car and rush to the next destination.

I really enjoyed the sunset at Captiva Island this year, much more than I expected. I love my times on my deck, reading or writing…

I guess we’re just trying to soak it all in, but then again, I’m the dad, so I have it easier than my wife does…


First Gen American August 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm

My mom is constantly telling me to “slow down” and asking “what’s the rush?” Part of me thinks she forgot what her life was like when she was working full time and raising me and falling asleep at the kitchen table with her cup of coffee in her hand. The other part of me thinks she’s figured something out that I haven’t been enlightened enough to see yet.

I have slowed down a lot but I still have a long way to go. Especially the part about not feeling guilty if you’re not productive 100% of the time.


Crystal @ BFS August 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I am a mix of younger you and you now, lol. Some days (okay, most days) I am always on the move and can’t just slow down, but I do have a day or two every week or so that I just sit around chatting or watching tv or trying a new restaurant…very stop-and-smell-the-roses days. 🙂 I am sure I will someday have mostly those and less crazy busy, but we’ll see. 🙂


Moneycone August 26, 2011 at 7:56 am

As a kid I never had enough money to buy the video games I wanted to play but had all the time in the world! Now the situation is reversed!

Life is unfair! 🙂


Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager August 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I think I need to take your advice and slow down a little…


Squirrelers August 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Very thoughtful post, Kris. I know what you mean. I’ve changed a bit over the years in some respects, and am learning to appreciate the little things and not take certain things for granted. Maybe its that as we get older, our time gets more valuable with every passing day!


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