post icon

on great expectations

There comes a point, I think, when you start to realize that you’ll probably never live up to the expectations you carried as a child, and that your brightest years are behind you. I have had some significant accomplishments in my life, and I’ve got a ways to go yet, but as a pretty bright kid in a school full of bright kids I had expectations that by the time I hit 30 I would be a huge somebody of some sort. Well, I haven’t written a best-selling novel, and I haven’t become an accomplished musician, and I’ll never be a famous athlete; in fact, with my back having had surgery it is unlikely that I’ll participate in many sports in the years to come. Even that popular sport for the middle-aged, golf, is something I’m unlikely to ever be able to play again. I’m not as fit or attractive as I used to be, and will never be that fit or attractive again. Every year there are missed opportunities that I’ll never see again in my lifetime. And I see it happening, as if in slow motion.

On the other hand, where I’ve really won out is in those places where I had no childhood expectations at all. I’m a pretty good person, always trying to do the right thing, and am proud of the accomplishments I’ve had. I’m well traveled, can speak French and some Chinese (and English too!), and have a few international degrees behind my belt. I have a cottage in Canada, a Canadian and an EU passport, and some good work experience. I have a lot of options. And I’ve still years left; there’s still time to write a fantastic novel, become fluent in Chinese, or run a company. With limited time during each day it might require some motivation and some time management, but if I want to get these things done before I’m gone, I need to really work hard at them now. As Richard Machowicz would say, “not dead, can’t quit”.

I have a great family. Yvonne has stuck with me as I’ve dragged our little bunch from one country to the next in pursuit of my MBA. She works hard, does almost everything around the house, and is an amazing mother. More often than not she’ll have something cooked for the family by the time I get home even though I tell her that I’ll do it when I get there. When my assignment in Ireland is up we’re going to move wherever she likes; it’s well beyond her turn to decide where our family will end up and up to her what she wants to pursue once she gets there. It might be China. It might be somewhere in Europe. It’s her call.

At 11 months of age, Amelia (or Mia, or Mimi, or Mimsy, or Miggles, or Midge, or Little Mi, or Mimimimoomoo, or whatever her nickname might be at the current moment) is a little doll, always smiling and getting into mischief. Whenever you hear her little, “hehe hehehe hehe”, you will often turn your head to find her pulling wipes out of the bag and chewing on them, or getting into the fireplace, or methodically removing every item from the kitchen cabinets she’s able to open. She’s not walking yet but she’s very strong-willed; from out of nowhere she’ll grab hold of your hand, stand up, and then refuse to sit down until you let her hold onto your hand as she walks all over the house, giggling the whole time.

And when I get home from work in the evening, my 3-year old, Callum, is usually standing behind the storm door waiting for me (just the other day I found him curled up in the little cavity between the storm door and the front door, having fallen fast asleep). When he sees me he jumps up and down and starts babbling, though of course I can’t hear a word he’s saying through the glass. And when I open the door he looks up at me with love in his eyes and whispers excitedly, “daddy, are you happy?” Which everyone who knows Callum is well aware that what this means is that it is in fact Callum who is the one who is brimming with happiness. And I crouch down, give him a big hug and a kiss on the forehead, and tell him, “yes Callum, daddy is really happy.”

And it’s true, every time.

20. Jun, 2006

14 Comments

Leave a comment
  1. esmerel
    20. Jun, 2006 at 5:21 pm #

    aw!

  2. diabolka
    20. Jun, 2006 at 6:06 pm #

    Beautiful.

  3. newki
    20. Jun, 2006 at 6:16 pm #

    30 is the new 20

    Hey man, you still got plenty of good years left in you! Heck, I’m the same age and I see myself as just getting warmed up.

    Family is the most important thing..and it sounds like you are more successful in that venue..more than most people will ever be.

  4. ladycalliope
    20. Jun, 2006 at 6:17 pm #

    You’ve got a point there. All that you’ve writting sounds WAY more fun and satisfying than

    …though come to think of it, I see where Amelia’s mischievous ways come from.

    • ladycalliope
      20. Jun, 2006 at 6:18 pm #

      Bah, I sound like English isn’t my main language! “All that you’ve written” or “All that you’re writing,” of course.

    • lacemyshoe
      20. Jun, 2006 at 7:42 pm #

      This picture ROCKS!!!! 🙂

  5. jeditigger
    20. Jun, 2006 at 6:22 pm #

    Sniffle.

    You’re such a doll.

  6. mcg
    20. Jun, 2006 at 7:35 pm #

    Fantastic post. Truly amazing the joy a little one can bring. I really had no idea.

  7. miche_connor
    20. Jun, 2006 at 8:02 pm #

    Oh, hon. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad you’re happy. Wish you were closer though, for convenient hugging and raids on sushi restaurants.

  8. mokitty
    20. Jun, 2006 at 9:57 pm #

    awwwwww. I can’t imagine why YOU of all people would feel like anything short of a smashing success. I can’t begin to imagine where you get the energy to do what you do, plus have a family and a social life.

  9. da_zhuang
    20. Jun, 2006 at 10:26 pm #

    But what you have over alot of people is the fact that you choose to dedicate 1 paragraph to the sad and 5 to the good.

    Too many people do that the other way around. And that’s why the sad wins.

    But not for you, my friend. Not for you.

  10. diabolka
    21. Jun, 2006 at 1:53 am #

    Btw, your stories were great. I still have High Speed Hitman and a few others at home here. 🙂 Very nostalgic!

  11. aresdragon
    22. Jun, 2006 at 2:05 pm #

    You have an amazing life! Fame or no Fame, you have a wonderful, beautiful family, and the love that all of you share is simply amazing in itself. =D

    We’ll never regain our youth, but I think that the life you’ve led has been exciting, and filled with adventure. . just because it doesn’t read like an Indiana Jones script doesn’t make it any less fun & exciting!

  12. donnie_baseball
    27. Jun, 2006 at 7:33 pm #

    Looking back at all the time I have spent working for “the man” and but it seems I have just been running on a treadmill for the most part. What could I have done differently? Did I miss my lucky break? Is it still out there waiting for me? Some say you make your own luck and while I do not consider myself lucky, I also do not think I am unlucky or have had anything stolen from me. Many years of long hours at work and little time off for vacation but still not a “huge somebody of some sort.” However, I have enjoyed life and getting paid good money for doing something that felt like a hobby than a job more often than not was a good thing. If I did not have expectations to be a huge somebody when I was growing up, I think I did expect to be at least not a nobody. You’re not a nobody as “when I get home from work in the evening, my 3-year old, Callum, is usually standing behind the storm door waiting for me” attests to. You have seen and experienced a lot more of the world than many people have and in a way I am envious. I have worked and worked, putting off things that would lead to a daughter or son waiting for me to get home from work and sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. Then again, I hope to have plenty of time to do some things I have not done yet.

Leave a Reply


+ 6 = seven