Monday, January 2, 2012

Sage Advice Revised

I will never forget the advice my Peace Corps liason gave me back in Haiti.

"Lower your expectations." she told me.

My first and my last.
Never ever ever EVER forget it because it was the worst advice I'd ever ever EVER heard. 

Although well meant and, in retrospect, rather suited to life working in government.

I prefer the poster hanging in the Reflection Room at Lawnton State School.

"A goal is a dream with a deadline."

(Have I mentioned how much I love this school?!)

Traveling light!  (And yes, I am missing one!)
The thing is that my expectations are what drive me to achieve.  I accomplish more -make those dreams into a reality - because I do expect more.

The fact that they are so high are also what make me feel like I can never accomplish enough, though and I like to think that this is what my Peace Corps liason was refering too. 

So that the best advice so far is printed on a little placard (still packed up in a box somewhere behind the bar) given to me by my mother.  Although I don't have to make this up, it fits nicely into the story, don't you think?!


Andrew's camera.  (Plight of the dolphin or the beauty of it?)
Make peace with imperfection.

I think we should stop and meditate on it.


Hourly on days that need it.

What it means is that I don't have to clean the entire house before I sit down to write, the way I used to be able to clean my entire apartment before sitting to study for an exam in vet school.  Cathartic, yes.  Necessary?  Not if I ever want to get anything else done but clean the house.

What it means is that I have gone from needing to clean the entire house to being able to just focus on a room or two at a time.  Which has, since the arrival of more and more kids, developed into just making sure the kitchen and bathroom meet basic standards of hygiene.  And lately, just that the sink and toilet get done. 

What it means is focusing on what's really important to me despite the clutter that is life.

January 1, 2012
Accepting that the clutter will always be there, in my mind as well as in my life.

And moving beyond it. 

It doesn't mean not trying to end world hunger, but not letting it get you down when yet another natural disaster claims more innocent lives.

And, most likely because Aussies tend to like you for who you are instead of judge you for who you are not, it means you don't have to have the perfect household, car, job or children, to like yourself.

Perfection at the Peace Pagoda in South Bank
C'mon.  I know you aren't supposed to care what other people think of you, but how good can you feel about yourself if your German neighbours don't feel comfortable coming into your home unless the dishes are done?

The nice thing is that this advice also allows you to forgive them for it and move on.

To forgive yourself for what you haven't done and focus on what you have.

If life really is, as I have said, in the big, fat, hairy painful struggle  (or as Miley Cyrus has stated a bit more eloquently, it's the climb) I like that my high expectations can still be there, without bogging me down in the business of getting on with it.

Reality at same said pagoda!
Make peace with imperfection.

And discover that life really is just fine the way it is.

1 comment:

  1. I like the making peace with imperfection. (And your perfection vs reality photos!)
    Right now I have the most trouble with my reality vs everyone else's reality. We share it, after all, and while I'm able to swim through it, everyone else seems to be drowning in our pool. So if I give a crap about them, I have to care about their reaction and THIS is even more work than swimming through my own reality.
    If that makes any sense. I'm sure we just need to get back home.
    Glad you're well! Take care! Enjoy the sleep you can get :-)