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I sometimes think this is my husband's favourite expression. Along with, "You just can't get the staff…"
To be honest, it is usually used in a humorous way, such as when I thank him for doing some little service for me, like washing my car, or vacuuming.
But I was thinking about this phrase and the way it makes me feel.
You see, his standards are not my standards, and I have only just realised the difference.
We live in a world where the qualities of the left brain are valued more highly than those of the right. Left brain dominated people value order and structure in their lives. They are analytical and logical, gravitating more to the sciences than to the arts. The qualities of the right brain are admired, but not valued. A self-employed accountant tends to earn more than a self-employed potter.
In our household, we are equally split. My husband and elder daughter prefer a firm structure for family life. They like to know what they are doing and when; the family diary is meticulously scheduled. They prefer a clean and tidy house with no pets to track in mud and leave fur on the sofa. My younger daughter and I, with our love of spontaneity and our forgetfulness (and our need for furry friends), feel constantly inadequate as we fail to live up to their standards. Yet my elder daughter loves going to the home of her friend, where chaos reigns, the furniture is unmatched and the four cats sleep anywhere and everywhere.
So, over the holiday period, we talked. I started to stand up for my own standards. Do we really have to have every meal at a scheduled time, all sitting round the table, valuable though that is? Could we not have it on our knees in front of the TV, from time to time? I pointed out the joy in saying, out of nowhere, "Let's all go and see a film!"
I could see the panic on my husband's face; the "but what ifs" forming on his lips. For him, a visit to the cinema needs to be planned; the film carefully chosen and the tickets booked in advance.
But, bless him, he took the idea away and chewed on it, and he came up with a solution: scheduled spontaneity. "How about having one evening of the week which is deliberately left free for spontaneous activity? We don't plan anything, but just do whatever seems right on the night."
I laughed, but we have agreed to give it a shot and see how it works out. And, hopefully, it's just the start of a campaign by my youngest and me to have our own values recognised and valued.
Where in your life do you find yourself living by the values of others, and what if you could live by your own?
Of course, first, you have to know what your own values are.
Please share, in the comments.
A Moodscope member.