Do you have an Advent calendar in December? There’s always at least 2 in our household. I have just received 2 DIY Advent calendars for the boys that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. They each consist of 24 little envelopes with pegs on a string so that you can fill each one with a gift. I’m a bit late as they have just arrived yesterday, but my idea is to write a little love note to include in each daily envelope for the boys to read each day. However, I suspect they will be more interested in the daily chocolate or sweet than the love note!
Before you read this week’s post, I need to warn you, have a tissue nearby if you watch the video – It’s a tear-jerker!
Have you heard the Jamie Lawson song, “I wasn’t expecting that”?
If not, then please watch the video on YouTube to it before reading the rest of today’s post, as there’s a spoiler! In fact, DO watch the video, even if you’ve heard the song.
The first time I listened to the song, I thought, “This is such a beautiful love song”. It’s so true to life – none of us ever expect to fall in love, it just happens!
“Isn’t it strange how a life can be changed
In the flicker of the sweetest smile?”
I loved this song as it rolled on because, as a mum and a woman in her (ahem) mid life, I could relate to the story…. the years rolled on. In fact, it even made me feel quite young because in Jamie’s song:
“Time doesn’t take long, three kids up and gone”!
Hurrah! I’ve got a few years ‘til the kids are up and gone yet! One thing I’m noticing at present is that my friends and clients seem to be getting younger, so I particularly welcomed that line. Smiling face (black and white)
As I listened to this song for the first time, I felt all smiley inside, romantic — and young, but then Jamie kicked me. He takes a sharp turn in his lyrics:
“When the nurses they came, said it’s come back again
I wasn’t expecting that”
What?! Eh? What’s going on Jamie? You’re supposed to be telling me about loving your wife and having time together now the kids are grown up!
Then he finishes with the cruelest sting in the tail:
“Then you closed your eyes, you took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that”
It took my breath away. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.
Every time I hear the song now, I know what’s coming, but I still hope vainly for a different ending. But there isn’t a different ending, no matter how much I might hope.
So many women spend far too much of their precious lives worrying about things that might never happen. I know, I’m a recovering worry addict. Do you try to predict outcomes and waste your energy creating stories in your head about “if the worst happens”. Yet I wonder how many times this mental “disaster planning” has actually served you? It’s more likely to have kept you wake at night, made you feel anxious or stopped you from enjoying the present.
There are a few places for disaster planning – when managing projects or anticipating zombie apocalypses, to name a couple. And it’s good to create “reserves” in your life, for example reserves of energy, time, money…and toilet roll.
But really, you must STOP mentally planning for disaster and getting lost gazing into imaginary crystal balls. Even if you have the gift of foresight, what can you do if that’s what’s going to happen anyway?
Life’s big moments tend to be those that we are least expecting – whether they are moments of joy and bliss or moments of horror and heartbreak. We WILL, as human beings, experience the full range, whether we like it or not. You can’t love without loss, you can’t live without death, you can’t experience happiness without having experienced sadness. We simply can’t STOP those things.
Instead, start focusing on all the little moments of joy that you weren’t expecting. What might happen tomorrow when you wake up? Really, you have no idea what tomorrow brings. It could be “good”, it could be “bad” or it could be just “so so”.
But try this: When you wake up tomorrow morning, approach your day as if it is an exciting adventure and resolve to throw yourself wholeheartedly into that adventure. You might have some wonderful surprises along the way, because you are more likely to discover moments of joy when you focus on being joyfully playful.
I can’t promise you that everything will go your way. I can’t promise you that you won’t experience pain, sorrow or fear. But I can promise you, that if you shift your thinking so that you are curious, present and open to the unknown possibility in each day, you will be much happier and much more to build resilience.