I see it everyday in military life. Disappointment from expectations that miss the mark. People build things up in their mind and are disappointed when what they have envisioned doesn’t actually occur. We plan for the perfect deployment homecoming only to wait for hours in a staging area running after impatient kids. We spend weeks coordinating the perfect special event only to spend it without our service member. And often our expectations fall short of the reality that is our life.
I remember years ago hearing my mother say to my father “Jack, don’t build it up in your mind”. It was as if she knew that he would be disappointed when his expectations didn’t turn out just as he had hoped. My father always wanted the bigger events and moments with us kids to be a “once in a lifetime”. He would contemplate the reactions we would have and anticipate that every experience would “create amazing memories” which we would talk about for years to come. And when his expectations were different from the reality he felt like disappointed.
I didn’t get it then, but I can see it clearly now in the many folds of my life. Friends, family, clients, military and civilian alike all falling into the trap of having to out do and create bigger and bigger events or it isn’t fun, worthwhile or important. They want to top the last vacation, holiday, date, homecoming, celebration, even the last relationship. And because it’s never big enough we feel as though we fall short. We create expectations that are far from realistic and therefore we lose something very important.
When we constantly try to “Go Big Or Go Home”, we lose the value of “being in the moment”. We lose the importance of building relationships that have true meaning by experiencing life together. Some of the most connective moments that I have ever had are the moments that are quiet, spontaneous and hold no expectations. It is then that I am able to experience life in its entirety.
Don’t get me wrong, I love (and need) fun and excitement sometimes. I also know that life doesn’t have to be big or perfectly designed in order to “create memories”. In striving to create a picture perfect, or Facebook perfect life, we can lose out on some of the best moments. Expectations are fine when they don’t replace spontaneity.
So stop expecting and start living!
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com
As I browse my social media feeds I notice so many people are fed up and unsure of the direction of their lives. It reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago when my son was stressed about what he would do with his life. Fast forward nothing he even considered was to be his path; life took him in a totally different direction. And it's more than ok not only for him, but for any of us [...]
You may have noticed I've been a little quiet lately. Between the passing of my mother-in-law, supporting my husband, handling military life and dealing with all the feelings of my own, I haven't had the focus to do much else than the bare necessities. And I have been feeling guilty for taking a much-needed time out from anything that drains me physically or emotionally and just staying in my[...]
Sometimes as we traverse military life it can feel as though we live separately from the outside world. We have our own lingo, we take pride in things others take for granted and our day to day challenges are very different from our civilian counterparts. Because of this we need to build stronger coping skills and hone our self care strategies so that we are prepared - especially for the stuff[...]
Have you ever noticed that sometimes in military life it seems as though every time you turn around someone or something just keeps getting in the way of your dreams? It may feel like for every idea you have or action you take there is someone out there telling you it can't be done or how it won't work. They may even share a suggestion as to how to do it "the right way".
After church [...]
As we kick off Mental Health Awareness Month I want to begin with some insight that my son had over the weekend into how social media really steals the joy from our lives. He shares this piece of writing with me and I was struck by how it opened my eyes to the connection between social media and our military mental health. His excerpt highlights the reality of living with the challenges of [...]
I'm inclusive, I reach out to the newcomer, I'm supportive of all military spouses and I love my military life. I'm all of these things; UNTIL I'm not. And today it's been brought to my attention that without realizing it we have once again alienated the male military spouse. Don't see it? Neither did I...that is until today.
This morning as I was sharing information on a free military [...]
Last night I attended an event that is part of a week long tradition among the Engineer Regiment. As part of military life and regimental week here on Fort Leonard Wood, military spouse events are as much a part of the weeks powerful lineup as the laying of the wreath ceremony, best sapper competition or the Regimental Ball. And this years Engineer Spouses Night Out didn't disappoint.
Military spouse, Judy Davis, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, published author and co-founder of DASIUM specializing in military life and small business success and is known as a suicide prevention expert.