Every decade of my life I become less of a people pleaser and realize what it is that I actually want. I thought I was doing so much better in my 40’s. Especially in my marriage and with my children. For my birthday I decided to lay out a specific plan so that I would make myself happy. I told my family that I wanted to go to Griffis Sculpture park and then I wanted to go swimming and have lobster for my dinner. I got exactly what I wanted because I was very specific. The more vague we are the more we have people guessing.
I have also learned more and more to change my expectations of people. People can’t meet our expectations if we don’t lay out what it is that we want from them. Also, if we tell people exactly what we want, that doesn’t mean we will get it. We at least need to give people a chance and be specific.
I think it can be hard for my husband to try to guess what I want. When he asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday I decided to actually tell him. When my kids were complaining, I told them it was my birthday and they needed to be quiet and make me happy. That didn’t stop Lillie from whining about all the walking, but I still enjoyed it.
I thought I was doing so well until it was time for me to plan Book Club. My Whinypaluza book had just been published and I really wanted to pick my book as our pick of the month (also my birthday month). I was nervous to ask them. Was I being crazy suggesting that we read my book? Why was I struggling with this? It seemed like a big ask to me. What is the harm in asking for what we want?
When you choose the book of the month, you usually are the person in charge of hosting. We had just had our backyard landscaped and it was so relaxing, peaceful and beautiful in my backyard. It was the perfect place for me to host.
I told my husband Seth that I picked my book for Book Club this month and he was so happy for me. He thought that was a great idea. He was going to take our book discussion a step further than I anticipated. He asked me about doing a conversation about my book with my book club as my first ever Whinypaluza Podcast. Interesting thought. I was nervous at first but as you probably have noticed Seth tends to push me out of my comfort zone and makes me fly higher. I was ready to try and fly.
Every month a different person picks the book and every month a different person hosts. We also celebrate birthdays. What did I want to do for my birthday celebration? I wanted to have it in my backyard outside. I wanted the sun to shine and for it be a nice day (I can hope). I wanted to talk about my book and have it videoed for my first Podcast. I wanted to order lunch and celebrate and talk and have a good time. Doesn’t that sound easy when I lay it out like that? I have realized that I still have growth to do. We all do. I still have trouble asking for what I want. I may have gotten better with my kids and my husband, but I am still learning with my friends.
I nervously asked them all if they would be willing to do my first Podcast with me discussing the book. I honestly held my breath because I was so nervous to ask them that question. It felt like another big ask. Guess what? They didn’t even hesitate. They all said yes, they all read the book, they all showed up, and we had a wonderful conversation. I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s finished being edited. I had so much more to ask them and to discuss but my videographer husband had to leave and go back to work.
All I needed to say was “Come over at 11. We will do the Podcast and then we will order food and celebrate.” That’s all I needed to say but I couldn’t spit it out. It took me a while to ask for what I wanted. I didn’t want to be too pushy. I didn’t want to ask for too much. All they wanted was a plan. They didn’t care much what the plan was. They wanted to make me happy. They wanted me to pick. They were happy to help me with my career. They are good friends. Golden friends. I need to learn that it is ok to ask people for things. It is ok to ask for favors. It is ok to pick a restaurant. It is ok to have what you want. Don’t we deserve it? How many times a year is it our birthday? Once a year! People like making us happy! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
My gift was a wonderful discussion with my friends about my book. It was everything I imagined it could be. I had such a good time. Even better than the awesome discussion is that it sounded like they all enjoyed reading it. The sun also decided to cooperate and give us a beautiful day in my backyard. It all worked out.
I told you all in my last blog that your birthday is a time to reflect on the year. What did you do well? What do you need to work on? I still need to work on being ok with asking for what I want. I have made definite progress.
Let’s rewind to three years ago when I let my kids talk me into another minivan that I didn’t want. I drove it for three years and didn’t enjoy it. I was sad that I gave in to them. Three years later as we went on a search for a nice three row SUV, I was on a mission to make myself happy. What was I going to enjoy driving? What was going to make me happy? I was envisioning a white SUV with leather interior. I was so excited, and I wasn’t settling this time.
My new three row SUV is sitting in my garage as I type this. It was dropped off today. Do you know how good it feels to say what I want and please myself and get it? I’m making progress. We are all learning and growing. My friend told me tonight she was going to be mad at me if I got another minivan. She was looking out for me. She told me the other day that if I want to chop my hair off – chop my hair off. She told me if I want a white SUV – get a white SUV. Yes! Exactly my point. I need to stop worrying about what everyone else wants. I need to ask myself more often what do I want? I need to be able to tell people and ask people for what I want. I’m getting there. I’m actually proud of myself. I have a new short summer hairdo and a new white SUV to prove the progress I am making. 44 continues to open new doors and is making me very happy.
Go ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid. Be specific. Don’t play games or beat around the bush. You can do it. I believe in you. You deserve it.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R