When Life Gives You Lemons, Drink Champagne

I had a birthday this weekend and it did not go as expected. A trip had been planned; that trip got canceled. I was pretty bummed but then Frank took the girls to the Women’s March and I went to a used bookstore and had a quiet reading lunch. We got a babysitter and had a lovely date night. It snowed and our neighbors fed my family so I could have alone time. I drank champagne while eating leftovers from the fancy date restaurant. All in all, it was a good reminder of what a birthday weekend really should look like: Family, friends, books, and bubbles.

I learned a lot from this weekend that I hope to carry into this next year:

IMG_8185It’s OK to Feel Your Feelings
When I woke up the morning after canceling my flight, I was really sad. I didn’t feel like celebrating. And I let myself feel those feelings. If I had plastered on a happy face, it would have been fine for a while but eventually, that disappointment needed to be felt. So, I did. This year, I want to remember to feel my feelings. Not to wallow in them or to let them ruin an entire day. (And sometimes, it’s just not the right time or place to feel every emotion and I have to wait.) But I want to recognize the health and importance of feeling the uncomfortable feelings – the ones of disappointment or hurt. When I stop and recognize them, I also see some root causes that I may not have noticed before.

What Was My Desired Outcome?
When the actual trip didn’t happen, I thought about things I was looking forward to: Reading a book on the airplane, catching up with a dear friend, resting, solitude, seeing a new place. While I couldn’t catch up with my friend like I was hoping, I did try to recreate some of my other hopes. I stayed in bed and read while Frank took the girls on some outings. I started my “airplane book” at a restaurant and read it for the amount of time I would have been on the plane. When life doesn’t go as planned, I hope to stop and recognize my hopes and outcomes – what can I do to create space for creativity and rest?

Call on Your Community
When we had to shift our plans, we called our babysitter to see if she was free for a date night. I texted a friend about getting together. Our babysitter was available; my friend wasn’t. But reaching out and asking helped get ideas rolling. Once I started thinking about things I wanted to do, I was motivated to get dressed and do them. At first, I wanted to keep my disappointment to myself, but by letting others in, I realized what support and love I have right here – something I hope to never take for granted.

Drink Champagne
A few years ago, Frank got me a case of sparkling wine for my birthday. The idea was that we’d have enough “everyday champagne” to toast all the moments – big and small. So, on this weekend, the girls drank Martinelli’s sparkling cider with every meal and I sipped on Cava all afternoon by the fire. We had the fancy Champagne on my birthday dinner but having something sparkly to sip all weekend reminded me to celebrate every moment, no matter what.

Now, with a few days between me and my initial disappointment, I have a much better perspective. Do I still wish I could have spent some quality time with my friend? Absolutely. But I know it will happen. And the gift of remembering these perfect small details of life made this birthday weekend one that I hope helps define my year.

What are some good life lessons you’ve learned out of disappointment? How do you recalibrate your expectations?

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Books you might like:

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(This book gave me perspective.)
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(My “airplane” book.)

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14 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons, Drink Champagne

  1. Sorry your birthday had an upset but I love the reframe and champagne. I was actually thinking about this yesterday as the rush of Monday dread started creeping in…I think the answer might be in that book with the pb&j on the cover. Being grateful for everyday, ordinary good things.

    1. Liturgy of the Ordinary couldn’t have come at a more perfect time – soo good! And, champagne helps me remember to be grateful in even the most ordinary of situations. 😉

  2. Abrupt, unexpected changes aren’t easy. I’m glad you were able to find solutions that were what you needed amidst the disappointment.

  3. In a life that’s become ‘a Roman wilderness of pain’ (remember The Doors?), in which the only sure thing is that tomorrow will be worse, I’ve learned the bright truth of ‘una salus victis nullam sperare salutem’.

    The only thing for which I can hope is the courage not to hope for safety, and to do my best meanwhile.

  4. Happy belated birthday! I’m so glad you allowed the feelings. I struggle with that. And inevitably they come at the most inopportune time. I’m more thankful that God blessed your day in a very intimate way and then prompted you to share your learned experience with us. Different is not bad, it’s just different. Blessings none the same.

    1. Thank you! I struggle with shifting gears, but you are so right – different isn’t at all bad. It’s just different. It was a lovely weekend, but different. 😉

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