Jun 10

Turning 9

My younger son turned 9 yesterday.  He is an incredible mix of wise beyond his years, yet still so young and innocent.  There was so much build-up to the day, so much joy opening presents in the morning, and eating the best breakfast ever…fried eggs and pancakes with real maple syrup (a treat in spain).   By mid-morning the letdown had already set in:  the day could never live up to all the expectation.  I saw him struggling to figure out what was going on…he’s not a party kid, so there was no party planned.  But still he felt a pressure for something extraordinary to happen.  I saw the joy of the morning fading away and a cloud of disappoint settling in.

I didn’t want to be a cheerleader or deny his experience, but I also didn’t want his day to be a disappointment.  I told him that people get to do what they like best on their birthday, and for many people, especially kids, that means having a party, but for others, that might mean staying home.   We talked about what he likes to do and I told him that his birthday, of all days, was a day he should do what he likes to do, even if it’s not what most people would choose.

Why am I writing about this?  I was just really reminded of how important it is to know ourselves and what makes us feel happy, and not try to hide that or live by outside expectations.  If we turn our backs on ourselves, we invariably end up disappointed.  Not surprisingly, that’s hard for a 9-year-old to know, but I think people of all ages do the same thing.

My question is, what would it be like to live with no expectations and just let life unfold?