I am a very judgmental person.
Not only towards myself- which would have made it difficult for me yet quite a relief for others- I criticize everyone and everything.
Most often- I would lay my harsh judgment on someone or other- only to realize moments later, that I am guilty of the same behavior.
So a few weeks ago, I arrived at my pool only to find out there was new management -meaning rules have changed- meaning the pool no longer opens at 04:30 AM (yes!! I know! just about the greatest thing ever for the likes of me who go to bed at 18:30 and wake up at 3Am or earlier..) .
New management decided the pool will open at 05:00 AM instead.
Now- the morning swimmers were so upset they were getting ready to tear the place down.
The morning swimmers are all pensioners over 70(besides me, I’m “the Kiddo”- only 53) , (one is 86, they swim every day for an hour!) none of them need to get to work early- or at all-or hurry back home to wake the kids before school starts.
The thing is –
They’ve been swimming in this pool for 20 years now, every day- at 04:30 AM.
Rain or shine- they were there, swimming like the warriors they are.
They tried to reason with the new management, there was a meeting, attended by the morning swimmer’s representatives, but to no avail.
But The morning swimmers wouldn’t change along established habit: whenever I got there 5 minutes early- meaning 4:55 AM -there they were standing and getting worked up and upset about the change.
It seemed to me- and they, later on, said so themselves- that it ruined the whole experience of swimming for them.
I admit that my first instinct was to -naturally- criticize them.
“What difference does it really make? it’s only half an hour! no other pool I know opens that early and for that matter-the earliest pool around opens at 06:00, so 5 is great, why would they let that ruin their swimming fun?” etc etc.
But when we finally got in and I started swimming, at about 5:45- someone joined my lane!!
(Technically -the lane is wide enough for 2 people to swing in, but-WTF?? one of the main reasons I get there so early is so that I can spread my arms and swim the breaststroke as fast- or slow- as I wish, without watching out for other people’s head. mind you I’m 170 Cm and wear glasses, I mean no non-sense nearsighted. that makes it 5’7 feet of charging in the dark without the desire nor the ability to see far ahead- seeing as my breaststroke takes the full width of the lane when arms spread wide. just saying. )
I felt as if the unwritten contract between the pool and I was breached.
Back at home- I realized that I was too quick to judge- as always- and that the early morning swimmers were accustomed to getting up early and swimming just as early, and for them- the “contract” was definitely breached.
But then I thought about the apparent connection between my expectations- and disappointments- followed by anxiety, stress, and disappointment.
I realized that every time I got upset- it was because there was a gap between my expectations and the actual outcome.
And that includes hidden expectations- such as the expectation that things will stay the same: a new house will always be shiny and unflawed, a relationship will never grow stale and boring, work will always be exciting, kids will always be sweet -etc.
I realized I see a lot of people getting worked up about family gatherings on holidays, getting extremely upset about their bosses being unfair to them, and working up huge stress while driving on a busy street and not finding a parking space,
As if anyone promised us that everything will always be OK.
“That’s so unfair!!!” I hear them say.
Well- that’s true. it isn’t.
Most things aren’t fair.
The workplace isn’t fun, married life has ups but many downs too, kids make you feel invisible, old, and irrelevant many times, not to mention issues some (well, me) still might have with parents-siblings- friends. oh- and isn’t it so unfair that I try to eat healthy and nutritious food but my behind seems to think it’s OK to thrive on that food too??
It’s all so unfair-
And getting upset seems just the natural way to react.
Because it is!
But with all due respect to “natural”- in this case, I beg to differ.
I don’t enjoy being anxious and worked up about things, don’t like the way rage makes me feel-and look-
In short- it gives me wrinkles,
And since I stopped having Botox- I can’t bring on unnecessary wrinkles while I try to maintain the current facial situation.
So I keep reminding myself that no one owes me anything.
Not my mother. not my partner. not my kids. not my job (easy to say now that I’m retired)not the government. not the pool, or my friends, or other drivers.
Does it help? well- sure- generally – if you expect nothing of anyone- anything good that happens is unbelievable joy.
Specifically? you should have heard me swear at the driver that cut me off at 7 AM on 1/1/22. I blessed him alright.
Still got to work on the No expectations thing.
Have a great year- and enjoy- the cooliflower.
I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.