This quote, adapted from Alexander Pope, struck me as quite negative when I first saw it. Then I realized that it does not refer to those with no dreams or goals, but rather to those who are able to recognize that life doesn’t owe them anything, and that there is beauty and power in the moments when life switches direction or ends as you know it.
There is no roadmap to life. No guidebook, no manual, no training but the experience of living it. Holding tightly to expectations of how life will turn out is a recipe for bitter unhappiness. After almost five decades (say what?? 😱) of experience I have learned that flexibility, the ability to roll with the inevitable punches, is key to managing stress and finding happiness in our busy world.
When you have a chronic illness, there is a new layer to managing expectations. A large part of the learning curve is pacing yourself. You go from being able to handle a full-time job, all the responsibilities of being a parent and/or spouse, running a household, socializing, volunteering and anything else you feel like doing, to measuring out your spoons every day.
And that’s okay. There are many ways to live a life. The challenges and suffering in our lives are what build character, so even in the darkest moments we can try to be thankful for this crazy, magical life we’ve been given. Being present in your life, not dwelling on how you thought things would turn out, or worrying about what the future will bring, in short having no expectations but instead a huge amount of appreciation for the blessings of existence itself, leads to a beautiful life.
Easy? No, of course not. Worth it? Definitely.
Please watch the video below to hear an amazing perspective from a woman who was sick and dying her whole short life. RIP Claire Wineland. 💕💕💕
I’m off to my writing retreat this week. I’m really excited but freaking out a little bit. Okay, a lot. Update when I get back.
Have a wonderful week!