Today it came to my attention that there is yet another human being in crisis, standing at what may be one of the most profound crossroads of her life. Let me preface by saying that she and I share a hugely strange, albeit deeply connected personal journey and story. How we happened into each other’s lives is nothing short of fate, and most definitely unbelievable. You see, she is my son’s “ex”, an amazing and beautiful young soul who sufficed to say I love very much. “She is me” and “I am her” with 24 years between us, and just as the personal journey I’ve been on has kept me in constant backward motion to, irony of all ironies, about 24 years ago when the first signs of my deeply complicated and broken condition began to show through the cracks in my facade, likewise it seems she’s now heading towards the enlightenment phase of her own personal journey in not quite her 20th year. I could wax poetic as to all the ways she and I were destined to collide into each other this way at VERY moment in time, but even with all my words would fail to give credence to the story. Furthermore, the nuisances and secrets we share are quite frankly nobody’s business (and far too complicated for the general population to understand.)
So, yes, she and I are both at a crossroad: She’s falling forward, and I’ve been falling backwards. I have had the opportunity see in her the me I could have been had I discovered my self-portrait much sooner, and likewise she the opportunity to look ahead with her ringside seat to my life and maybe, just maybe, avoid some of my pitfalls. She has discovered the first elusive piece that rests in the center of “her” (the same exact piece it took me 40 plus years to find). With brutal amounts of self-discovery and honesty, mountains of “heart” work, faith, determination, and support, she now can complete her own self-portrait much sooner than I was able to. She is 24 years ahead of my curve!
So, how does all this correlate to “Keeping Score With the Jonses”? Tonight, she posted on Facebook: “… I keep getting disappointed but I’m not lowering my expectations”. (Good girl! Follow your heart and listen to the voice of your far too wise beyond years intuition!) Her post fetched many words of wisdom and “support”, not the least of which was, “Just keep the expectations low. When people follow through it will seem like they over delivered, win win”. Okay, I get where they were going with that. But then again, not so much. So, I said this: “Well, rather than “lowering” your expectations, why not instead identify “how, who and why” you ever arrived at them in the first place. When we are young, we learn to set our expectations in accordance with the ones we first saw setting their own and then end up running in “shoes that don’t quite fit” and keep wondering why we fall. The ability to make our own expectations much healthier and right for ourselves is a miracle. When you get there, build firm boundaries around those expectations and protect them with everything inside you”.
Yes, that’s it! Introspect is powerful. Clarity is beautiful. They’re freeing, amazing, creative AND the beginning of the best parts of our lives. I’m guessing I’ve known this principal all the while and have been slowly heading towards it, but tonight it finally bubbled to the surface and now I’ve truly “defined it”. (Remember, I am still in the middle of my own process here. THANKS BE TO GOD, MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN SO BROKEN!) I cannot help but recognize certain things in people, and I see pieces of myself in everyone. With that, my heart and arms are now wide open, and I will no longer hoard all these wisdoms. Right or wrong, they are meant to be shared, because just as we have all heard that “hurt people hurt people”, I believe that “healed people heal people”.
Hmm. I think I’ve also discovered that this grand reveal may also tie into my real estate business. Some of you may know that deciding to get a real estate license has been a journey for me as well, and if I have learned NOTHING in the fledgling stage of my agency it is that customer relations is a tough gig, and only the strong can survive it. The human state of mind and its accompanying “expectations” are SO all over the place that I’m sure I’m not the only agent who has wondered on many occasions, “OMG, how in the HELL am I going to do this? Nothing is ever good enough and NO ONE seems to be happy with a single thing anyone does for them”! And what about that age-old adage “YA GET WHAT YA GET AND YA DON’T THROW A FIT”? Don’t we all want the sun, moon and stars? We want what we want, no matter the cost, and lo and behold we MUST have them! Doesn’t matter who we step on or the backs we break to achieve our heart’s desire (sometimes even our own), because WE WANT WHAT WE WANT AND THAT IS THAT! Yes sirs and ma’ams, I’m here to tell you that I of all people once had my own bar set so high that there was JUST NO WAY anyone was ever going to reach it, either for me or with me. I’d created a set of personal goals that were tantamount to nothing less than death! You see I was raised in a “works and deeds” based value system, where neither affection, approval, pride or affirmation were freely given, but rather, had to be “earned”. (So, what have you “done for me” lately?) With this, not even the Joneses were good enough to keep up with. “Go higher, run faster, do better, accumulate more, work until your dead, and oh yah, he with the most ‘stuff’ wins!” In the meantime, if you happen to fall short of what the world expects you to achieve, never ever let anyone see you fall! After all, perception is everything, and “what will people think”? And wait, OMG again. What her Facebook poster said, “Just keep expectations low. When people follow through it will seem like they over delivered, win win”. Now why was it that statement didn’t quite sit so well with me? DUH – LIGHTBULB! Those were the exact words I used to say to myself in some cop-out attempt to pre-excuse falling short of the bar that I wasn’t even sure why I wanted set so high.
LET’S CHASE OUR OWN DREAMS, PEOPLE – NOT SOMEBODY ELSE’S! What’s right for one may not be right for the other, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY! More than that, even the Joneses have cracks in their storybook, dreamlike, lollipops and rainbows foundations. Just lift the roof and look inside the homes of even the most seemingly perfect “Joneses” and you may find that they are struggling too! Let’s give ourselves a break folks, and maybe even each other! As long as we’re not all living under bridges, guess what? We’ll survive! Unconditional love, compassion and empathy for the human condition is 100% free of charge, and nope, you certainly don’t need a 3.25% interest rate over 30 years to afford all the things you really “need’! Sometimes less is truly more, and I say this to you having lived on both sides of that coin. I once was “a Jones” who lived in my own bright and shiny palace, with, you guessed it, nothing but what seemed to be lollipops and rainbows all around me! I refused to let anyone see the cracks in my own foundation, because “OMG, what would people think if they knew the truth?” So, I lived with the lies and the perpetuated the farce that I created to protect not only my image, but my family’s. Meanwhile, none of that “stuff” would have done me a damn bit of good had I ended up resting in the heart of a graveyard buried 6-feet deep in my own oblivion. So, I let all the “stuff” go and figured out what I REALLY wanted and needed, and as it turned out, it wasn’t quite what the rest of the “Joneses” would have expected. And guess what else? Somehow now that I’ve figured it all out, some pretty good “stuff” (and by “stuff”, I do not just mean “stuff”) is coming right back to me, only now I appreciate it even more! Seems as though the less I want the more I get, and nope, I’m not even lying! And one last thing for the record: By no means am I saying that it is bad or “wrong” to want a bunch of “stuff”. It is, after all, human nature, and uh, YAH, sometimes “stuff” is fun! What I am proposing is that we all think long and hard before deciding what we want and WHY we want it before we hit the ground running a race that may or may not worth be running when it is all said and done. After all, we sure can’t take any of it with us, now, can we? So, let’s just stop “keeping score with those Jonses”? Just sayin’ folks … just sayin’!