Granny’s response to a lot of things was, “I ain’t getting my hopes up.”
I thought this was kind of morose and sad – we’re supposed to be hopeful, aren’t we?
“Why?” was her response. “When I do, I always get disappointed.”
Mama, on the other hand, tries to see the good in things and when stuff doesn’t work out, she tries to come up with some kind of divine reasoning.
“When something doesn’t happen the way you want it to, it’s just because something better is on its way,” Mama will say.
Being reared by both of these redheads has caused me to fluctuate between the extremes.
On one hand, I am always looking for the positive; on the other, I have started to understand Granny’s mantra.
And let me tell you, 2017 has been a year of disappointment.
I tend to do a lot of reflecting this time of the year and think about the past 12 months and how I want the coming year to be.
I hoped – no, make that knew – that 2017 was going to be amazing.
And it hasn’t.
Far from it.
As this year has gone by, I have realized some cold, hard truths about a few friends, making my circle even smaller.
Instead of trying to hold on to these outgrown relationships, I remembered Granny’s words.
“Not everyone will do for you the way you do for them,” she told me more than once, probably after she had experienced a personal lesson. “If you expect them to do what you would do, you gonna be sorely disappointed. They won’t. But they will be there on your doorstep whenever they need you.”
She was right. This year has shown me, yet again, the friends that only were around when they needed me and when I needed them, they dismissed me.
Boy, did it hurt.
“Ain’t no need for it to hurt,” Granny foretold. “Better to know what you’re dealing with upfront than not. I ain’t got time for people like that.”
A few opportunities I had been excited about turned out to be huge disappointments this year.
More than a few.
Some came to an end and some never really worked out the way they were supposed to.
“Look for the things that went right,” Mama gently reminded me.
It was an impossible task.
Mama didn’t believe me. I assured her it was.
So, in the coming year, I am lowering my expectations.
It’s not that I am being a Negative Nellie.
Like Granny, I am not going to get my hopes up about things; again, not trying to be negative.
Just go with me on this for a second.
I am actually going to look at things from a realistic standpoint.
I am not going to project my personal attitudes and ways of doing things on others. Other people may have their own thing going on that has nothing to do with me.
I am going to be a bit more grounded in my approach.
Instead of thinking one event was going to be so life-changing, I was going to put the focus on me and what I can do to change my life.
I think we tend to build things up in our minds sometimes where we make them so much bigger and grander than what they are.
We think that one job, that one person, that one something is going to make all these changes in our lives and when it doesn’t, we feel like Granny often did.
“Nothing goes the way I want, so why should I get excited about this?” she said more than once.
Mama countered with, “Because sometimes you have to be excited about something, Mama. It’s good for our souls to get our hopes up and be excited. We have to have hope to hold on to.”
Maybe that was just it.
Granny had gotten her hopes up so many times and it didn’t happen the way she wanted.
I know. I’ve been there. Heck, I am wallowing in the shallow end of the pool right now.
But I am trying, with all I’ve got, to find that hope my sweet yet crazy Mama preaches about.
So, I am setting the bar just a tiny bit lower.
I think lowering my expectations may be the answer.
Not that I am thinking I will be disappointed.
But maybe so I can be happily amazed.