Many (dare I say most?) American children grow up reading and watching “happily ever after” fairy tales. Lately I’ve come to I wish I hadn’t been raised on such things. Why? Because these stories set us up for false expectations.
First: There is no such thing as happily ever after. Even when we do meet our perfect prince in shining armor or the princess of our dreams, it is just a matter of time before the truth of our imperfections start shining through. Relationships do not just magically work over the rest of our lives. Instead, relationships are work. Rewarding, amazing, pleasurable, satisfying, encouraging, joyful, fun, and a host of other things that outweigh the work part of it. But still work.
Second: There is no fairy godmother to swoop in and make everything better. God may bless us. He may redeem us. Friends and family may support, encourage, and uplift us. But, we have to work to improve our lives, our health, our circumstances and our relationships.
Third: The decisions we make DO matter. There are consequences to our actions that we have to live with. Yet, the stories we are brought up with teach us that we can make really stupid decisions and someone will come rescue us. It is foolishness (and maybe some childishness) to imagine that we can squander our resources (time, energy, health, money, relationships) or take them for granted and then figure they will still be around when we want them.
And, so, I find myself in the midst of these childish and foolish feelings of wishing things would be easy, that the hard stuff would just go away, that I wouldn’t have to work so hard to regain health and prosperity. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, really (and there I go admitting another silly personality flaw: pride). But, it’s true.
I’m tired of working so hard to lose weight. I have hit the 20 lb mark! (Wohoo!) And now I want to be done! I’ve worked really hard for nearly three months, have lost only 1 lb in the past 3 weeks, and now I want to go back to eating whatever is convenient, not pushing myself to work out, and certainly not tracking everything that passes my lips! And so, I ask myself, “What is wrong? Why do I feel this way? Why do I have this expectation that everything should just work… without the, well… work?”
My analysis ended up with a combination of nature and nurture. I’m a perfectionist who wants things to work perfectly and on schedule. I’m not on schedule with my weight loss and I’m not eating/exercising perfectly, so I’m not happy. Also, I’m a very busy. There are lots of things competing for my time! As for nurture: I’ve been trained all my life to idealize the fairy tales I was brought up on. And here I am, in the midst of real life, throwing what amounts to an adult temper tantrum because things aren’t going as fast or as easily as I want! Lol. Shame on me!
Yes, life is full. And it is challenging. But, I’m glad it isn’t boring. I’m glad I have these road blocks that make me step back and take stock of myself so that I can grow up and move on. I recognize that I no longer have the luxury of doing whatever I feel like; instead I have to budget my time, prioritize tasks, and constantly prune and plan so I can get the most out of my resources.
As tempting as it is to stick my head back in the sand and be happy with my 20 lbs weight loss, I owe it to myself to keep moving on. The laws of our world dictate that we either move forward or slide backward; we don’t get to just be static. So, I’ll keep pushing along, dragging my inner tantrum-thrower along for the ride until her voice gets quieter and my future gets brighter.
Wishing you joy in your journey!