For many years I have followed Jimmy Buffett’s musical advice regarding New Years resolutions, “Yes, I’ll make a resolution/ That I’ll never make another one…” Yet that does not prevent a bit of reflecting on the past and glancing down the road ahead.
As 2022 begins I am reminded that with the passing of my mother in June of 2021, and my father in 2017, I am the oldest living member of the Christopherson line, there was a time that was called the patriarch, which is neither the role I play nor a well received term these days. My parents taught me a lot, this morning I am reflecting on 2022 with the wisdom of three of my father’s memorable quotes.
“Anticipation is always greater than realization.”
In March 2005 Alexis, Tricia, and I visited the Louvre (for the geographically challenged it is in Paris). We strategically arrived a bit before it opened so as to avoid the crowds that form in front of the Mona Lisa. Inside we made a dash past centuries of the best art in the world, made a right turn into a large, green walled room. We had beat the crowds so there were just a few of us face to face with one of the most famous paintings in history, our already eloquent 13 year old daughter succinctly expressed our shared impression of the Mona Lisa, “That’s it?” (Check out Tricia’s blog for more.)
The reality of life is that we tend to build up our expectations, and too often the reality is quite different. The danger then is that we become disillusioned and stop dreaming. Robert Ringer wrote of maintaining a positive attitude by accepting the reality that much of what we attempt in life will not work out as planned, so he advised to not let that dash our positive attitude.
Many of us looked forward to 2021 with high expectations, yet the virus continues to rage, our country is more divided than ever, and our environment continues to be the victim of greed and power – anticipation has given way to realization.
One thing is certain, 2022 will be quite a year for us. Tricia retires in 10 days, our condo goes on the market in 24 days, and if all goes well we move to France in about 80 days. We have dreamed and planned for all of these long before they were put on hold in March of 2020. Our friends Shirley and Jim gave us a pillow for Christmas that describe the next phase well, “notre grand aventure.” We know it will not be exactly as we visualize it today, there will be detours and frustrations, but we are committed to take the rest of Jimmy’s advice, “Just enjoy this ride on my (our) trip around the sun/ Just enjoy the ride till it’s done.”
“Fear of loss is always greater than desire for gain.”
At this stage of my life it is a challenge not to reflect on my past and the things I wish I had tried. With a lot of encouragement from Tricia I harbor fewer regrets than if I was left to my own imaginings, thankfully. One thing is clear is that it was either comfort or fear often reared its head which prevented action on my part.
Though I have traveled to five continents I have lived only in Oregon and Washington. The prospect of living in another country on another continent is both exhilarating and a bit frightening, thankfully the desire for gain outweighs the fear of giving up the familiarity of the Pacific Northwest.
As theTravelsketcher I frequently encourage hesitant sketchers, who are convinced they “are just not artistic,” to overcome their fear of failure and give it a try, thankfully the majority have found they actually could produce an adequate sketch, it is worth trying.
“What would happen if?”
Of the three quotes this is the one that irritated me the most and which I also heard most often. I usually heard this when I wanted to do something but had not considering the pitfalls – it confronted me with reality. At my more advanced age I realize it is most likely some of the best advice dad could have given, not that I always took it.
Disappointment from inflated expectations is mitigated by asking, “What would happen if?” “Fear of loss” is reduced by asking, “What would happen if?” As any project manager will tell you risk analysis is critical.
We ask this question often as we plan for 2022. We love France, and after many trips there know it pretty well, yet living there will be quite different from just visiting – Dad would approve. Dad’s question is not about avoiding notre grande aventure, it is about being prepared for les petits problèmes that are sure to arise.
Here is where we will live in Normandy. Though the sketch is certainly my style it is not mine, it comes from the website for La Thebaudiere. Our cottage, the Boulangere, is the first one on the left, just across the small bridge.
We are counting the days to Tricia’s retirement and our moving, realistically expecting a wonderful time, letting loose of the familiar, and planning just enough to make it work. Hope you will follow along with us here and at Tricia’s blog Travels Throgh My Lens.