Last night I went to bed at 10:30pm. Not a big deal, except it was New Year’s Eve and my almost 12-year-old was beside himself that his parents couldn’t even make it to midnight. But this morning I woke up at 6:30am, feeling great having not eaten or drunk too much, and getting a solid 8 hours of sleep. Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019.
During dinner yesterday we went around the table and talked about what we want to leave behind in 2018. My 9-year-old agreed that it would be best for him to cease, or at the very least, reduce his general complaining. My eldest decided that his procrastination may have to be ditched in favor of a more organized system to attack his mounting school work. My husband said he will let go of the attachment he feels toward the startup company where he works, since it was recently acquired by a larger company and therefore will look and feel very different in the new year.
When it was my turn, I said “expectations.”
Expectations of others sprung to mind instantly. What I learned in 2018 is that when I expect people to behave in a certain fashion (read: the way I think is normal), and they don’t, I am disappointed. This past year I found myself disappointed a lot.
Upon moving to a new house in a new city, in a new state, I expected my friends would connect with me, even by sending me the occasional text to just say “hi.” Few did.
In the moment I faulted them. But now I realize that for them nothing had changed. Their life looked the same - same house, same job and same environment. Mine had changed, but they weren’t inherently affected. I also realize people operate differently, and while I know this in theory, it can be an afront in practice, especially when it comes to fragile feelings.
Embracing the fact that people operate differently frees me from hoping that others will be thoughtful in their words and actions. I can only control my own actions and reactions. It’s a great yogic practice: watching your own reaction in moments of stress or discomfort, and then working toward non-reaction.
In the same vein, I’ve also decided it’s healthiest for me to drop my expectations when it comes to my career. This does not mean that I have stopped setting goals. I am simply just taking a more pragmatic approach to my goals. The last few years swirled in over-commitment. I would teach 15 yoga classes a week, plan and lead a couple retreats a year, volunteer at the kids’ schools, chauffeur them to their activities, and run a household with my hands-on hubby (without a nanny or housekeeper, which is my own personal choice).
Given this new life in Seattle, and now stepping into a new year, I’m eager to see what evolves in my career. I look forward to my two retreats in 2019, whether 20 people join me or just 2. I will continue to teach people who come to my classes with a full heart, rather than focusing on the trivial concern over a full class. Maybe most importantly, I’ll give myself space to reflect on what it is that I want to do, rather than just doing what is expected of me.
My transformation toward letting go of expectations has already taken root. Now my hope is it will blossom, and I can devote this new-found energy to more amazing things with my family, friends and students.
Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019.