It dawned on me during this last month how much braver I feel being away. Things that would normally daunt me at home, I now approach with complete calm here. Maybe it’s because nobody knows me here, not what I do, who I am, what my past has been. They have no expectations of me, or I of them. We are, in odd ways, on equal footing.
Having no expectations takes the pressure off. I don’t feel that I’m going to be judged and if I am, I don’t care, for chances are, I’ll never see that person again. No expectation is liberating and I wonder why I don’t live that way when I am at home.
It’s not so easy when you are among those you know well and vice versa. We all have expectations of other people. We expect our friends and family to be loving and supportive and rightly so. We expect our work colleagues and bosses to treat us fairly and appreciate what we do. We expect our children to love us. These are the fundamental expectations that govern our daily lives. But what about what we expect of ourselves?
When I am at home, I burden myself with ridiculous expectations. Not fundamental ones, but ones of Olympic weight lifting proportions. I expect myself to cope with everything that life throws at me, all the issues of work, child, ex, home, money, all the everyday things. But I also expect so much more of myself. I often add to those normal expectations with the self-flagellation ones of ‘I should have” or ‘Why didn’t I?’ or ‘Next time I must…’. These are the unnecessary elephant size expectations that I throw on my already weighted back. I know I’m not the only one who does this. But why is it here, away from home, that I don’t do this?
Sometimes we add unnecessary pressure to ourselves. As single mums, don’t we already have enough to manage without placing more burdens on our backs? Surely we would be much better off dealing with what we have and not layering more guilt and worry onto our exhausted selves.
I have loved these past few months, living in the now, enjoying what the day brings. I have managed to forget the whip I left at home, and have embraced a softer way of living. I need to bring this new mentality home. Beating myself up is no longer an option. Note to self: Throw away the whip. Who's going to join me?