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The Happiness Connection  

Life without expectations

How do you feel about birthdays?

  • Do you try to ignore them
  • do something small to celebrate
  • go all out?

I love my birthdays and try to make each one special in some way. In fact, I tend to have a birthday season. That way, I can enjoy it with different people, in different ways.

I often do something special for my milestone birthdays. I was in Australia for my 30th and New York for my 40th.

I decided a few years ago that I wanted to be in Hawaii for this year’s celebration.

Life has taken some unexpected turns recently, and it became clear a few months ago that Hawaii was not going to be on the cards for my festivities. I needed a plan B.

I hoped I’d be hit by a flash of inspiration and an alternative idea would appear. It didn’t.

I think I would have been alright just letting the day unfold without any special festivities, but so many people asked me how I was celebrating that I began to believe I needed to create a unique way to mark the occasion.

I might regret it if I didn’t.

As the day approached, I began to feel increased pressure to figure something out. What would make the day special?

I made a very last-minute decision to gather a few friends around a fire to celebrate me and the summer solstice.

I had no idea what my birthday was going to look like, but right up until it arrived, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to some level of expectation that existed in a dusty corner of my mind.

I had a lovely day of birthday wishes and love. A few close friends joined me for an evening in the House of Rose Winery garden. We had a picnic and then made smores in a gas firepit.

We set some intentions and watched the sun go down.

It was perfect.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I realize how difficult expectations can make life.

I began to believe that going into a new decade meant this year’s birthday was somehow more important than last year’s or next year’s.

I had to make it something better, or more memorable, because that’s what I had done in the past. But that isn’t what I am going to do in the future.

Expectation often leads to disappointment, pressure, and judgment. I was putting pressure on myself to create a memorable birthday. Was this day going to be worthy of my milestone age?

My birthday seasons have always been fabulous because I have taken time to be with people from all areas of my life and slowed down to enjoy it. I let myself have more space to relish my life during this time.

I have decided that instead of saving this attitude for a few days around my birthday, I’m going to do this regularly throughout my year.

I am also hoping to approach every day without expectation, even the milestone birthdays. I’d like to let them unfold and appreciate them for what they are.

Do you find yourself expecting your life to look a certain way, and being disappointed if it doesn’t? Are you attached to a vision of your life and feeling let down when it doesn’t look like that?

Join me to detach from expectation. Let’s all strive to let life unfold and celebrate whatever that looks like.



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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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