One month into the new year and I am glad I did not make any resolutions for 2019. I did, however, make a commitment to myself. I decided I would let go of expectations and live true to myself. As a mother, I had expectations for my adult children. As a wife, I had expectations of my husband. More important, I placed heavy expectations on myself. The result was a stressful existence.
My grown children and step-children have their own lives to live. What they choose to do and how they choose to live is up to them. Whatever mistakes they make and whatever successes they achieve are theirs. I am proud of them and finally recognized that the best gift I could ever give them was no unnecessary expectations of how we should relate to each other. They are their own people. They have their own dreams. They have their own norms and values. I am grateful for the times we get to spend together, and I am grateful for the times I am not present. In short, I am simply grateful for them.
My husband and I celebrated 37 years of marriage in January. We are exact opposites. I am an introvert. He is an extrovert. I love to plan. He loves to be spontaneous. I am bookworm. He is athletic. I am the youngest of my siblings. He is the oldest. I lean conservative. He leans liberal. Throughout our years together, we have relied on each other’s strengths. While we often view situations differently, our mutual respect allows us to understand different viewpoints and respectfully disagree.
To help alleviate my self-imposed expectations, we went away for Christmas and the New Year season. We hopped in the car and drove to Florida stopping along the way to simply enjoy ourselves. One of the things I love to do for New Year’s is be on the beach and watch fireworks. We did that this year. It was great. I planned a little and left a lot of time for spontaneous adventure. On our return trip, we spent time in Georgia enjoying Savannah, Tybee Island and Atlanta. We saw family and friends based upon how we felt. No pressures.
Last year came to an end with us saying final farewells to a few friends and family members and 2019 entered the same way. Watching those we love perish reinforced the need to relinquish expectations. Life is far too short. Being true to my values and lovingly accepting that others must be able to do the same is helping to unlock the door to my peace. In today’s world, peace is probably one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself.
The year is just beginning. Give yourself a precious gift. Be true to you.
La-Verna Fountain is president of Meaningful Communications Matter, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in personal and corporate communications. She is retired from Columbia University where she served as Vice President of Strategic Communications and Construction Business Initiatives. She is the author of two books, The Alphabets of Life: A Simple Guide to Simply Living and The Gold Coins: A Supernatural Adventure Inspired by True Events (published under the pen name, Sa’lia Friend). You can reach La-Verna at firstname.lastname@example.org