OK, I get it. Time does not standstill.
Things change, the seasons change, and with it our lives. Some days we are on our game; then we have a day where things are just not clicking. Some days we hit one out of the park, and then we strike out three times in a row. This is life.
Whether or not we have a diagnosed illness, these things happen.
Our days are not perfect if we have money or if we do not have money. If we have our health, or if our health is suffering. Life still happens to all of us. Expecting life to stay the same every day is not realistic or healthy.
Last week, I refreshed all my hummingbird feeders.
It is autumn now and I knew that our hummingbirds would be leaving soon. I wanted them to have the best possible start on their journey south. I took each of the feeders apart. Using an old toothbrush, I cleaned around the flower openings, I scrubbed the inside of the glass bottles that hold the nectar, and I cleaned around the inside of the bottom trays where the nectar for the hummingbirds goes out to the imitation flowers.
They seemed to appreciate the effort.
Occasionally, as I sit on the front porch in the morning, one would come over to where I sit and fly in front of my face as if to say thank you for the nectar. Well, that’s the message I take from the interaction. It is possible that they are just curious, or they are making sure I am not a threat. Either way, it’s fun to see them up close and hear their tiny wings “humming.”
For the last two days, I have not seen or heard a hummingbird.
Is it ok to still expect them? When does expecting them and not seeing them turn from anticipation to disappointment? And when will it become a reality that they are gone until next year?
I set myself up for disappointment when I do not see that things have changed. When I am set in my ways and create a scenario in my head that has a certain ending, if it doesn’t turn out the way I scripted it, I feel sad, mad or cheated in some way.
However, if I slow down and take a moment to see what is really going on, the reality of the situation can be easier to see and less stressful. Take the hummingbirds. I know they have not stopped coming to the feeders because of something I did. Yet my mind jumped to that yesterday. Maybe my nectar recipe wasn’t right? Maybe they don’t think the feeders are clean enough?
As usual, it is not about me.
It is about the change in the season, the change in the food supply and the change in the weather. One year, I traveled to Costa Rica to see where the hummingbird’s migration ends. At the ranger’s station in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, we saw thousands of hummingbirds. There were at least seven different varieties, many larger than the ruby-throated that we get in Virginia.
With a dozen feeders set around the entrance to the park, you could literally walk among the hummingbirds as they drank the nectar provided by the park rangers. One-part sugar to four parts water. No coloring was needed. I have been using this recipe at home for years.
Knowing things change doesn’t necessarily make the change easier when it happens.
Expecting the change, as in “I know the hummingbirds migrate every year and stop coming to my feeders” is a healthier way to frame the event. Beating myself up for the condition of the feeders is not healthy or an accurate picture of what is happening.
Damn those unhelpful thinking styles.
What changes are happening in your life? How are you thinking about them?