Weekend 24: Drop Expectations/Add Happiness and Embracing Opportunities

This weekend feels like a continuation of a recent theme. I am going to drop expectations and add happiness and opportunties. Mostly, this is just a different way of saying some of the things I’ve been working on the past month or so.

I am spending this weekend with my sister and her family at her husband’s family holiday house near the beach (that sounds swanky, but it’s just the little house where his nan used to live and is now shared by her family for holidays). I haven’t had any type of holiday all year and certainly couldn’t afford to pay for one now, so it should be a great opportunity to really get away from everything and relax.

Except that I spent all of yesterday fretting about things. Then I spent all night fretting about things. It’s a bit like Christmas: it’s supposed to be fun, but the work involved sometimes takes over and actually makes it stressful. Because I’ve never been to this place before and I’ll be travelling with my sister’s family and generally at their mercy (so to speak!), I don’t feel in control of things that might happen or might make me uncomfortable. I tried to remind myself that it’s OK to fail, but I couldn’t manage to do that last night.

One aspect of this fretting is that I have expectations of how things should go. Not always specifics, often just expectations for how I should behave and interact with others to have a successful and enjoyable time. Then I worry about things not living up to those expectations. (What if I never get to do anything I want? What if I annoy everyone with my quirks? What if I don’t sleep well? What if I’ve packed too much? What if I haven’t packed enough? What if…) This happens to me far too often, sometimes over silly little things and sometimes over bigger, more worthy things, but it’s still unnecessary. This weekend I’m going to try to make a real effort to catch myself when I’m starting to obsess about how things should be and fret about how to avoid them. I want to let go of these expectations and tell myself that it’s alright however things work out and that it will be alright if things become a little uncomfortable or embarassing provided I am kind to myself.

I also realised during the week that I’ve been witholding complete happiness from myself. I tend to feel that I don’t deserve it yet. It’s quite humilating and painful for me to currently be in a position where my budget it so tight until work starts up again that I can’t afford any extra expenses, including a meal out or a take-away dinner. These feelings are particularly excruciating as my sister and brother-in-law may choose to buy dinner or lunch while we’re holidaying for the weekend and, if that’s the case, they will very generously pay for me, too. This knowledge doesn’t make me feel good, it makes me feel beholden. It makes me worry all the time about being too demanding or asking for what I want, because I’ll be holidaying on their hospitality and at their expense. I don’t want to seem ungrateful or make them annoyed. I actually find this aspect of the situation so depressing that I feel like just staying at home and not having to worry about anything like that.

Of course, this is me once more fretting about things that mightn’t happen and probably even aren’t true. My sister knows things are tight for me these holidays and has a fair idea of my quirks, so she invited me understanding all of this. What I want to try to do is to just take advantage of this opportunity for a proper little holiday and to really try to allow myself to feel properly happy for the weekend, without feeling that I don’t deserve to enjoy myself. What is the point of going then? Also, this holiday may give me an opportunity to do a few other things I enjoy. With no internet access apart from my smartphone, I’m leaving my computer behind and so I can read, do puzzles, take photos of the scenery and – hopefully – find a little time to do some writing. I am going to try to embrace these opportunities and allow myself to feel properly happy while doing them.

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About Zaiene

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life I am inspired by so many different ideals of how to live a happy, fulfilled and productive life but struggle to get around to it. Large scale changes are intimidating and difficult to sustain, so this is my bite-sized life experiment. Each week*, I will find one thing in my life to drop and one thing to add. I will try to drop things that have a negative, unhealthy or over-absorbing effect on my life. I will try to add things that will have a positive, healthy, empowering or useful effect on my life. The experiment is to see whether I can cope with these changes and whether they really do improve my life. *(I began it as each weekend, as a less intimidating challenge. After about ten months, I felt that I wanted whole-week - well, Monday-to-Friday - challenges.)
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