“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” - Henry Van Dyke
The calendar holds a special fascination for me as does the cycle of the year with its seasons, its special occasions, its commemorative days, its celebrations and feasts, as well as all other occasions that help to make some days special in some way. We humans love to mark off time and even greater is the desire to mark some days of our existence as “red-letter-days”, which help us navigate our way through the routine of our humdrum lives.
Every year in December I spend some time compiling my own annual calendar for the year ahead, I illustrate it with my photos and for every special day there is some reference, with religious days commemorated in the Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Neopagan belief systems. International commemorative anniversaries are marked, phases of the moon, beginning and ends of daylight savings, the various public holidays and also an inspirational quote for the month.
This year, December was a little bit of a write-off with so much happening and quite a bit of an upheaval not letting me do things according to my usual “schedule”. The calendar was the casualty, meaning that I have been greatly delayed in its production to the disappointment of many friends who are used to receiving it as a New Year’s gift. I was quick to reassure them that yes, it was still happening, it was just slightly delayed this year…
One may reflect a little on this and think about expectations. Things that are assumed and which one may take for granted. This past year more than any other I have realised what a great effort I expend on an almost daily basis in order to do what is expected of me. Things at work and at home, things that other people expect of me and things I expect of myself. And how little it takes to unsettle that fine balance – how little a spanner needs to be if it is to disrupt the works, when it is thrown in.
Perhaps, in the end, I should resolve something this year and that is to moderate expectations of me. Clearly spell out (to myself first) that what I expect of myself need be more realistic and that my timelines need be more elastic. Also to ensure that others understand that what they expect of me need be judged by some reasonable standard and that they understand my multiple commitments, activities and responsibilities. The more we idealise others, the higher our expectations of them. I have tried too hard maybe to be the ideal, hence others’ high expectations of me… If we expect nothing, we are grateful for whatever comes to us genuinely, spontaneously and unasked for.