Monday, December 27, 2010

In which I decide to stop living up to expectations

Especially the imaginary ones.

I am also trying to stop demanding that other people live up to my expectations, except those ones where it actually really matters to me. For example, I'm unlikely to compromise on my expectation that people not behave like selfish shitheads if their expectation is that they would like some company from me. I can manage that by just - going - away - because I can manage my own expectation of myself. I hope that this will make life a bit easier for those around me, as well as for me.

We had a really nice Christmas, that was entirely stress-free, however, because of point one up there about managing my own expectations of myself. Which is no doubt a Good Thing. It's nice to anticipate a resentment free new year.*

I am marrying this idea of self-expectations with Blue Milk's nice idea about how we easily get stuck in traditional grooves, how we can easily take the road in front of us that has been taken by so many people before, without having to think about it. And I think about it, I do, but the marketing is so strong, it's hard to change the expectations and hard not to look for the rewards. People display much more liking for you if you conform just at least a little bit, and it's tempting and habit-forming because we all like to be liked and approved of.

So taking a feminist approach to Christmas this year (in which I decided not to be responsible for organising everything and making all the choices) worked very well for the immediate family (who are generally with the program) but did attract some fairly disapproving commentary from people at work who wanted to know why I wasn't putting on the whole disaster, and they wondered who would do all the work and they didn't really understand when I said the aim was to enjoy Christmas as a family, without all that stressful stuff that made me angry and then spoiled the day for everyone else as well. And we still had plenty of treats and nice things and everyone got to do some of the work and no one felt resentful at all. And because I wasn't feeling responsible for everyone else's happiness, we all just did things that made us happy and that was fine.

But here I am, still feeling like I have to explain myself, because some people clearly thought I was doing the Wrong Thing, and I hate not living up to expectations and I hate it when people disapprove of me. Back to the start again.

In other breaking news, I can tell you that Eton Mess is a most delicous and easy dessert to make with leftover individual pavlova shells. If you also happen to have leftover cream and leftover delicous berries. It does look kind of disgusting, though.

*Astute readers might imagine that the new year may not be entirely resentment free. Perhaps it will be more resentment lite.

1 comment:

blue milk said...

Brave and meaningful position to take. Well done you.