#ARphotoaday + Changing Expectations

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

IMG_9949I started #ARphotoaday, not because I didn’t like anyone else’s photo-a-day prompts, but because I wanted to challenge myself with my own prompts—prompts I thought might help me dig deep into my authentic self to share with the world. That’s happened every now and then, but for the most part, I’m just having fun taking photos. Authenticity comes in many forms.

While sharing the posts from others here on my blog hasn’t turned out the way I had originally anticipated, I’m enjoying the chance to focus more on writing here. Photos are fun, and writing is my true love. What I’m learning now is to use the photos to inform and play with my writing. (I’ve also been playing with this idea for my Facebook posts).

The whole process is teaching me (okay, reminding me, whatever) that things don’t always go the way I planned, and that’s okay. When it happens, what matters is not that things aren’t what I expected them to be, but how I handle myself in those moments.

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Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.

~ Leo Buscaglia

True for how we see others, and even more so for how we see ourselves.

Some synonyms for idealize: glorify, glamorize, romanticize.

I glorify the life of my dog often. He has it so great because all he does is eat, sleep, play and poop. No clean up, no responsibility, just unconditional love from his owners. But then, he has to live by our rules.

I glamorize the lives of  those I envy. They have it so great because they’ve got a book deal, just landed their dream job, or are living their lives just as I’ve always wanted to. But then, their lives are not mine.

I romanticize relationships of my past. I see, remember the fun, the laughter, the good times had. But then, every relationship has its ups and downs, especially the good ones. And the past will always be the past.

I even glorify, glamorize, and romanticize the person I think I should be and the life I think I should be living. If I could just _______ … then I would totally _______ … so I should start _______ …

It rarely turns out the way I planned it in my head, whether for better or worse. That’s life. It has a funny way of throwing in little extras that we have to learn to be flexible with and adapt to.

We are not the idea of ourselves we create in our minds. Nor should we be. We just have to get good at adapting.

Sometimes expectations need to be adjusted (or just plain ol’ released) so we can get to the real learning of our experiences, our lives.

I’ve had to adjust my expectations for #ARphotoaday and adapt to the experience it’s creating for me. The project is turning into an learning experience that I can share with you, where I don’t feel obligated to create prompts that mean something to anyone other than me. Kind of like life. Be kind, be thoughtful, be brave, but ultimately, be yourself.

A small project, and yet, profound learning refuses to go unseen.

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I’m reminded of a quote, used in a speech given by Patricia Clarkson in 2009 (completely different content/context—if you’ve never heard the speech, take a 15-minute break and go watch it now; I’ll be here when you return), where she speaks in awe of a quote from Tennessee Williams and a delicate violet breaking through rocks because it is nature’s will.

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

~ Tennessee Williams

Projects, expectations ought not be set in stone. Even stones crack under the pressure of nature.

The violets are our learning, and the rocks are our expectations, our projects. Adjust the rocks to allow the violets to grow, or else, she will bust that rock and bring her learning anyway.

With that, I’m off in search of some violets …

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