The perpetual upside

I got an email at work the other week, mentioning that I’d been employed for a year.

I was about to object to their ability to count for one of two different reasons: I’d been employed there since June of ’08 (two years, by any standard measurement), or had been doing my ‘sales’ job for the last nine months (which is not quite a year). Then I realized that they were right, in a sense. It was around August of last year that I got a permanent position there as a teller- which, in their system, is more different from a casually employed teller (working regular hours, granted) than from the sales officer role I now employ. This makes sense to someone somewhere.

This brought on reflection, which has been a constant companion of late. Personally, professionally, spiritually… it’s all been there.

Where was I at this time last year? Commenting on the beginning of football, wondering about the condition of our grandmother, uncertain about my direction in life, lacking confidence in myself and my relationships, be they with God or others.

Where is it now? Different in a lot of ways, the same in others. Still musing on sports, much to the chagrin of a few readers. Still working with my faith- certain of the existence of God, even if my role is as uncertain as ever. I’ve covered my grandmother in some detail already, with her having passed on.

The obvious change is work. I mean, crap, I have an office and responsibilities that call for more than I’ve ever given to someone who’s paid me. That’s the change that struck me the most. I am more confident in a lot of ways, but have such similar struggles in other areas. My friends are here, and an inspiration. Women, in general, still generate more heartache than fulfillment.

I had dinner with a good friend last Friday, and we got to discussing expectations at some point, and what had been expected of us. And how what was expected wasn’t what happened. Ultimately, it was for the better- but even now, we could see the remnants of that, the possible disappointment of having not gotten those expectations, for others who’d hoped for that for us.

It was, in some ways, the most honest conversation we’d ever had, and freeing.

I went home strangely content, and thoughtful, in the wake of knowing about these expectations, and having expressed myself freely. I reflected some on my own- personally, again, in relationships. How what I’d expected hadn’t been what had happened. Am I learning from this? Am I meant to look at what did or didn’t happen, and build on that?

How easy it is for me to tell others to look at the bright side, when I can’t always see my own. I tell people I know I’ve got it good- and I do. I don’t need to worry about food, or shelter, or good friends or family. All that’s there, and has blessed me immeasurably. I don’t know if it’s the perfectionist in me or the writer’s spirit that keeps looking under rocks, wondering if this is everything, how I could make it better.

I’m training someone at work, and I keep telling her, “it’s a process- you make mistakes, you learn, and you grow.” It strikes me at times that I don’t listen to my own words very well. It’s often she who tells me to smile and laugh throughout the day, and not dwell on the down side of things.

But really, it’s not just work that’s a process: it’s life. If you’re marking off goals, moving from A to B to C, you’ll probably find yourself as restless as I am from time to time, wondering what else there is. Life is what happens every day- the normal, the unexpected, the joyful, and the sad. And no matter what our circumstances, there’s always good to be found. Especially where we are, in a country that’s richer than most.

Life’s good.

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4 thoughts on “The perpetual upside

  1. Kristen

    I think expectation is half the battle in life. Take school, for example. I was told by my interim supervisor that when they were selecting students I was “the one to watch.” This is both flattering and terrifying. That’s a huge expectation to put on someone. It’s scary. I might not meet it. But it doesn’t matter as long as I do the best I can, given the circumstances. I think that’s what anyone can hope for.

    When Rob and I started dating I didn’t expect it to go anywhere; I was moving to Lethbridge and just didn’t see how it would work out. Rob had different ideas. He showed up in ways I can’t describe. He came to Lethbridge. He called (on his parents’ dime), he emailed me, he came home at lunch to stalk me on MSN. He pursued me and went far beyond my expectations. In short… I think other people’s expectations can hinder us or move us forward. If Rob had felt and fed into my expectation, there’s no way we’d be married now, but he had his own ideas and it moved us forward. I’m hoping the same happens with school…

    Good reflections overall.

  2. DaveC Post author

    Thanks to my buddy Ken and Uncle Jim for commenting- y’all are awesome. Come on back.

    Good thoughts, Kristen. Reflection is a constant state of mind for me, I just need to get it out occasionally.

    Expectation is a lot of it- I know there are times (especially personally) where I’ve expected something different than what happened. And that’s hindered me, when I get so caught up in that where I don’t focus on what’s important.

    It’s easy to say we shouldn’t get caught up in expectations- either our own or others- but it’s a natural instinct to, I think. We don’t want to disappoint those around us, or fall short of our goals. I don’t tend to have a lot of goals, and I don’t think that’s for the better. Part of that IS my own experience with failure, and taking it worse than I probably should.

    I think expectation and desire can be different, and they certainly are in your example. Rob didn’t let a particular expectation or notion get in the way- he wanted to be with you, so he went after that. I admire that kind of single minded dedication. I wish I had it, especially in relationships.

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