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  • Writer's pictureEric Spitz

Weighing Expectations Against Reality

This past week seemed to be one roadblock after another. While I should have just taken my own advice outlined in Oregon - A Marathon in Every State and rolled with the punches, I'll admit I let it get the better of me.

It all started with writer's block. I had no idea what today's post was going to be about, as I wasn't feeling particularly inspired to write about anything without it feeling too forceful. I played around with the idea of outlining five films centered around Thanksgiving, since everyone seems to gloss over the holiday as soon as Halloween is over, with sights fully set on Christmas. But I quickly came to the realization that I haven't seen enough Thanksgiving themed films myself to feel comfortable weighing in on the subject.

Work wasn't any better at providing an escape. Since I just transitioned to a new department within the company, my daily workload has been much different than what I've been used to the past three years. I'm the new guy again, and have to learn an entirely new aspect within the program I've made myself acquainted with over the years. I've been unable to run on autopilot like I'm used to. I have to rely on others within my group to give me the support I need, and when I feel like I'm starting to understand the process, I realize that I'm still not seeing eye to eye with the person training me.

Mentally exhausted from the week and feeling overwhelmed, I decided to take a step back and write a list of everything I wanted to get done over the weekend. I felt motivated to knock out as many items on that list as possible and give myself some much needed confidence again.

Saturday rolled around and I hit the ground running. I worked on filling out forms for the state of Michigan in order to get everything straight for my property taxes. After carefully analyzing what information they needed, I realized that the information provided on their website, the directions indicated on the form I was filling out, and what was told to me by a representative of the department over the phone was all conflicting with one another. I would need to follow back up with the state when they opened on Monday, so that item on my to-do list would have to wait.

I decided to move on to another task: setting up automatic electronic payments for my church donations. I was given detailed information over e-mail for how to set that up, so I figured it would be easy. While in the middle of filling out the necessary information, the website started giving me error messages and locked me out of the system.

I then turned my attention towards having new content ready for this blog. I had video footage from my time spent in Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway that I was excited to edit into a polished final product. While trying to upload the snippets from my GoPro onto my phone, my phone informed me that my storage was full. Despite deleting previous videos and moving content over to iCloud, it still wasn't enough to properly upload the videos that I had.

I had every intention of making the best use of my time in order cross those items off my to-do list. Due to external circumstances, I wasn't able to cross any of those items off my list, and it drove me absolutely crazy.

Was it a sign from the universe that I was focusing my efforts in the wrong areas? Quite possibly. I'll be the first to admit that I have a hard time adjusting to life when things don't go according to plan. It's something that I'm working on, but this week has proven that it's still a tough hurdle to clear.

When I did some venting to my friend Bri about my frustrations, she confirmed that I often set my expectations and goals very high, which could explain my often anxious nature. She told me to ask myself: "If I don't reach these expectations, then what?" I believe it was her way of trying to make me look at the big pictures. If I don't submit that paperwork, get my finances straight with my church or edit that video all in the same day, is it really the end of the world? Truth be told I'll remain my biggest critic.

This all could have been a sign from the universe that I need to stop being so hard on myself. With everything going on in the world right now, it feels senseless to be bogged down by roadblocks that are miniscule in comparison. This was just another reminder to focus on the elements of life we have control over, and learn to adapt to the elements in which we don't.

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