Saturday, November 13, 2010

The big picture first, the details second.

I think I might be hyperconscious. Sometimes I feel like I'm so aware of something - or the lack of something - that it starts to interfere with things that it's not even related to.

I have the feeling that that's closely tied to my expectations, and the conversation that Adam and I had about them last year. He made an interesting point, and I can follow it: if the expectation is less, then there is a better chance of it being met.

But I'm not sure I buy it. He and I have had a lot of conversations about surrounding ourselves with great people. I have done that, and done it purposefully. No one that's in my life is there by mistake; I have made a conscious decision to continue and actively work on my relationship with them. So then is it wrong to expect that they would have done so as well? Is it really that high of an expectation to want people to make a little effort?

I don't really think it is. The problem, though, is that I focus on the non-effort. It seems to me that I spend a lot of time thinking about the people in my life, saving up stories to tell them or asking to spend time with them- what better compliment is there than saying, I could be spending this time alone or with someone else, but I choose to spend it with you. I think that because I'm so aware of my desire to do that, to spend as much time as possible with the people I care for, that when I want to and I can't, it's hard for me to enjoy the alone time. I don't expect someone to want to spend every minute of every day with me - because frankly, that's exhausting - but there's something about the closeness of spending a lot of time with someone that's really really nice.

And I guess that's what I'm missing. I feel like my connections with people are spotty right now, even with the people I live with. I'm not sure if that's because I'm a first year teacher and I'm already drained, or if it's because of my emotional state, or if it's because I'm just focusing on what's not there instead of looking at what is. Maybe it's that I have high expectations of myself, even higher than the ones I have of others.

I want to be full of life. I want people to look at me and think, she's so alive. Surrounding myself with amazing people and holding myself to a high standard are part of that, so I'm not going to give those up. I think, though, that the way to work towards it is to be aware of the big picture first, and the details second. The other way round is making things quite difficult. I have the feeling that my expectations, both of myself and of others, are being met a lot more frequently than I realize.


  1. Oh, it's all so similar for me. They did happiness studies and found that people with lower expectations were happier. But why lower our expectations?

    Spending time with someone is a gift. As with you, I agree that the more you spend time with someone, the more you want to. It's heartbreaking when you want to spend time with someone, and you can, but they choose not to. I understand this too, and agree that things are spotty all around. I am hoping that it's universal. Maybe it's the blue moon, or the time of year, or the cosmos.

    I have no answer, but wanted to let you know that there is someone out there who gets what you wrote. I really, really do. Thank you for sharing. Keep being who you are, and wanting what you want.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. I only just read them now, but they are exactly what I needed to hear. It's so good to know that there are other people in the world who get it.