Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Great Expectations Goes To The Beach

Today I have been thinking a lot about expectations. We all have them right? Sometimes they are as simple as expecting your husband to take out the trash. They can be as complex as anticipating your wedding and reception to be flawlessly perfect in every way. Expectations can be good, such as a sunny day that was predicted by the faithful weather man. They can also be bad, like a monthly cell phone bill when you have gone over your minutes. Everyone's expectations are different. Some people have very high expectations in their life, others very low. It all goes hand in hand with our vacations, careers, goals, and just about everything in our daily lives.

Yesterday, my family and I took our first beach trip of 2009 when my husband arrived home from work. I'll be honest, my expectations were low. I'm not a beach loving Summer girl. I don't enjoy the heat, sweat, sand, sunscreen (which is a MUST), and I don't swim well! A trip to the beach is more about letting my kids have fun and experience one more part of Summer. I had all of the beach toys, towels, and snacks packed up (did I mention that's another part I don't enjoy) so we headed out for the moments of "fun in the sun." Once we arrived, I marveled at the sandy beach, blue skies, and Lake Michigan sparkling in the sun! Well, at least it's pretty even if I don't have a great time right? I grabbed my camera and snapped a few scrapbook bound photos before my kids could go running towards their aunt, who arrived before we did. My husband and I lugged our gear half way across the beach and I watched, and snapped more photos, of my boys helping spread out our beach blanket. Then it was on with life jackets for the youngest non swimmers in the group and heading to the water. My youngest prefers to play in the sand at the water's edge, while my oldest loves to jump waves and splash everyone nearby. I am grateful for digital cameras, as we snapped photo after photo of the beachy keen fun. I braved the cool water with my oldest son and my sister, while my husband stayed on the shore with our sand castle man. As I got used to the water temps and watched my kids play, I really started to let go, relax, and enjoy myself. I guess the beach is fun after all! It wasn't until my water bug boy's lips started to get a little blue, from being in the cool water way too much, that we decided it was time to call it a day at the beach, dry off, and pack up. We said "see you later" to my sister and headed home. When we arrived home with 2 worn out kids (YAY for the beach!) I began to realize just how glad I was that we went. I, along with my kids, were anxious to head back again soon! Wow, that's a big change for me! I discovered that my low expectations were actually a benefit to my day. Had I expected to build a huge 3 story sand castle and develop a perfect swimming technique, I would have come home in utter disappointment. I'm grateful that I only anticipated my kids enjoying the sun, sand, and waves because it made my enjoyment that much better.
After realizing how much different things can turn out when you don't expect something specific, I started looking at a number of different scenarios that could change if I did just that. How often do we anticipate Christmas to be something huge and exciting? How often to people get depressed after the holidays because of those expectations? What about birthdays, anniversaries, proms, and weddings? If we didn't build things up to tower above us at a level we just can't reach, would we be happier with the outcome? That doesn't mean that we shouldn't expect good things in our lives or anticipate happy moments, but maybe we should be a little more willing to let things come as they may. This however does not include letting our expectations lapse when it comes to our husbands taking the trash out or helping with the kids. Seriously, that shouldn't even be questioned! lol I just know that I've learned to not set the bar so high that it's destined to be knocked down. With that being said, I am expecting that you will have enjoyed my blog today! ;)


  1. I usually keep low expectations for that very same reason. I hate getting my hopes up. Does that mean the glass is half empty??? Hmmmmm.....

  2. I think you have a great point about keeping our expectations low. Perhaps it's more about living less self-centered, not expecting so much pleasure for ourselves out of every situation, but focusing more on others? Great thoughts!!

  3. MB... glass half empty? I guess it depends on the situation! lol

    Jody... I agree with it the way you put it "living less self-centered" and just enjoying things as they come.