Sometimes I feel like my life is a reality TV show. There are moments when I stop and actually look around expecting to see TV cameras. I even have a title for what my show would be called: ” Hang in there, baby!” and there would be a picture of a kitten hanging from a tree. (Remember that inspirational popular poster relic from the 70’s?) It would be an “I Love Lucy” type program where the main character (me) has all these great expectations of how things should be… and then well, reality happens.
Okay it my GYM’s fault I am thinking about Expectations and Reality. My gym has a cardio-theater. I love this because loosing myself in a movie helps past the time while I exercise. Today they were showing the film (500) Days of Summer. Now this is not a movie I would recommend renting but there was a scene that has stayed with me all day. The scene I am referring to is where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character (Tom) goes to Zooey Dechanel’s (Summer) party in the hopes of winning her back. It’s done in split-screen, with ‘expectations’ marked on the left and ‘reality’ on the right. As the scene progresses, we get to see the night Tom imagined in his head (Expectations) alongside the heart-wrenching reality of the evening. At first there are just minor distinctions in detail, but very quickly the two scenarios begin playing out in radically different ways. The poor guy’s reality includes finding out that the girl of his dreams is engaged to a different man.
This scene made me think. How cool would it be to have an expectations/reality split screen of our own lives? This would be the format of my reality show I mentioned before. Just picture it. Split screen, on the Expectation Side we see Sharon enjoying a nice dinner out with her family. The kids are dressed nice, using their best manners and engaging in wonderful conversation about their day. They order veggies as a side instead of french fries and never spill a drop of food onto their perfectly ironed and matching clothes. On the Reality Side: the kids are fighting about who gets to sit on the outside of the bench knocking over a glass of water while they push and shove. Once seated, they both immediately loose themselves in their DS games only coming up to dip a greasy french fry into a messy mound of Ketchup which of course misses their mouth and ends up on their stained and wrinkly pants. Who am I kidding… they are wearing sweats not pants.
Okay seriously, what all this made me realize is that we Expect our kids to be extensions of ourselves (The selves we want to be not the real ones of course.)But at some point we need to realize that the children we spawned are actually unique little people. They have their own desires and ways of doing things. It doesn’t mean that we can not expect them to act a certain way. But if you expect great things, then you have to take full responsibility for turning those things into a reality. If we want them to act in a certain way, well then we have to do something to make that happen. And if still, even after all our efforts they still don’t act that way, well then perhaps it is time to re-examine our expectations. I know it is easier said then done. But HANG IN THERE BABY!