Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything

My Aunt Anne was a special lady…for a long time I was scared of her.  Who wouldn’t be when you saw her appearance?  She was a tall lady with flaming red hair and an eagle eye.  Intimidating through and through.  Aunt Anne had a habit of telling people off.  Not just children, adults too…grown men could be reduced to tears once they came under the scathing tongue of Aunt Anne..  She always knew best…and in all honesty I think we all knew that she really did know best.  Aunt Anne was a very special lady, one of the wisest, shrewdest and most prudent people I have ever known.

Aunt Anne took a close interest in my sisters and I during our teenage years.  I am so glad she did!  She seemed to know, I don’t know how, but she knew all of our deepest thoughts and feelings.  Such a discerning lady.  She took an interest in our plans and goals, our friends and the boys we had crushes on, she noticed what we talked about, what we spent our pocket money on. She could have run an intelligence agency because she picked up on all these details and came to frighteningly accurate conclusions (which of course she made sure she drew to the attention of our parents).

While I was a teenager, Aunt Anne saw something lurking inside me, something weighing my heart down.  She detected an unusual level of anxiety.  She probed me over it.  I was frightened.  It might sound silly but I was frightened by the cost of life in this world.  The cost of housing, the cost of utility bills, the cost of transport, the cost of clothing and food – it all seemed overwhelming.  I was a teenager and I did not have to bear those costs yet.  But I was looking ahead, worrying about tomorrow.  I looked ahead and thought I had no choice but to become enslaved to a company, chained to a desk, trapped in a job I despised…all just to be able to afford to be alive.

Aunt Anne subtly helped me to realize that I did have choices.  My habits and decisions would effect the cost of my lifestyle.  She taught me many practical tips.  She sat with me and trained me in developing a budget and how to decide what was really important to me.  She showed me how I could stretch my pennies and to make what I owned last longer.  She taught me about free fun…so rather than spending my leisure time visiting restaurants and cinemas and theatres, as often as I may have liked…I made those things very occasional treats and instead learnt to love the great outdoors, learnt to bake and invite friends over to my home instead of us all going out to eat.  I always ended up with a huge drinks collection when I hosted an evening for friends.

She taught me to glean enjoyment in life and creation.  From even the smallest delights…dewdrops on a spider’s web, the appearance of the first spring flowers…to revering the grandeur and majesty of mountains and sunsets.  She showed me their worth is immensely greater than anything money can buy.

I am grateful to Aunt Anne for helping me see that if I wanted to live within a balanced budget and avoid being enslaved by years of debt, I needed to change my attitude, my aspirations, my ambitions and to cultivate contentment.  (My parents were caring for seven children. There was no way they could supply our every whim and wish, so I think we had been helped to realize we could not always have what we wanted.  My parents also helped us see that we needed to be willing to share and to see that everyone of the family was important and none should be demanding more than the rest.  Life is so much sweeter when you are able to share and think about what you can do for others.)

Sharing sweets

One very practical piece of advice she passed on to me was “Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything”.

Now Aunt Anne used that advice in reference to things, possessions.  But as soon as she uttered those words, they rang true to me in so many other avenues.  Perhaps they do with you also.

Her words have swum around my mind on many occasions…especially when I was involved in a new project with a new group of people or making a new start…everywhere I have been I have told myself:

  • Expect Nothing….don’t be disappointed by having unrealistic expectations.  Work and give without thinking of what you want to get out of it.  Show the kind of love that does not require reciprocation.
  • Appreciate Everything…every time someone does something nice, even the littlest  kind gesture, make sure you show gratitude.  Look after what and who is in your life, show how much they mean to you.  Count your bounteous blessings!

I have found that by heeding the sage advice of Aunt Anne I have never really had worries.  I have felt richer than I ever imagined.  I have avoided debt.  I have travelled to many countries because people I met and worked with asked me to go and visit them, I have had adequate accommodation in some very beautiful locations which I have cared for and kept clean. I truly have had far more than I have ever needed.

As for people…well, I have found that life is rich – rich with people whom I love and who love me.  I am convinced that my treasure of life experiences, memories and friends has been accrued partly because I followed Aunt Anne’s wise words: EXPECT NOTHING…APPRECIATE EVERYTHING.

Thank you


Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community More are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Mark has recently completed this challenge himself.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.



• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Expect Nothing….Appreciate Everything” 


My nominees are:




I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Have fun!

I have one more day of the challenge to complete, one more post, one more quote…I have been working on it…one more to come…it is another weepie.


Those For Whom Fame Does No Favours

I don’t know what I am wearing today….it was still a bit dim when I grabbed some clothes out of the wardrobe and I have ended up looking like a mix between a nursery teacher, a leprechaun and a lollipop lady.  I wonder what that delivery man thought of my outfit when I answered the door.  It wouldn’t be too bad if I hadn’t have grabbed the jade green cardigan because it felt chilly this morning….too many bright contrasting colours going on here….

Wouldn’t it be horrible to be famous and open the newspaper to find a hideous photograph of yourself opening the door to a delivery man whilst wearing a dreadful combination of colours…all because you were on your own cleaning the house all day?  I am very glad life is so simple at the moment.

I am content here.  Life is simple, uncomplicated.  But my life is so different to the one I led before the morning I woke up in an ambulance heading to a nearby hospital.  I had a very exciting career and was involved in major international projects.  I was interacting with hundreds of people on a daily basis.  Life was jam-packed full of important tasks and people.


I am not famous, I am not remotely important….but the work I was involved with was….I was in a role for a long-time which was very much involved with “the public” and in various projects I ended up in high profile situations and have worked with and socialized with men who are regularly in the lime-light, some on TV shows, or asked to appear at large public events and give speeches, some with weighty executive responsibilities – having to make decisions or even those involved in judicial functions. None of my associates or colleagues were well known for anything trivial, but for quite serious stuff.  Men of great prominence and import.  They all put in long long hours and are never paid “over-time”.  I think people would be surprised at how petty a financial return these men actually receive.

All have a reputation to be worried about.  Not for their own sake.  These men, if they did something seriously wrong…well they would likely resign (or be dismissed) and then then would have to find another situation.  But this is very very rare.  They are men of integrity otherwise they wouldn’t have been attracted to these demanding and self-sacrificing roles.  But there is a risk of them doing something that would limit their freedom of speech and the effect of their hard work.  A risk despite them taking it seriously that they should be excellent role-models.  When you work with and socialize with imperfect people who are trying with all their might to do something really marvellous, they are making sacrifices and working tirelessly and all because they care so much about those they are helping.  You have to keep your mind fixed on that…they are imperfect, but they are trying really hard to make a difference, to uphold good. Because, with imperfect people you find…imperfections.  Of course, it’s not possible for them to shed all their imperfections.

The problem is…they are in the public eye, under constant scrutiny.  There are some within the media and some of the public who love nothing better than becoming aware of and exposing the failings and mistakes of others. Especially people who have a reputation as…well, as being renowned for their noble deeds, their insightful decisions and trustworthiness.  The pressure on these men can be enormous.

Take this situation for example….one of these men in his fifties…he travels around the world and is always working.  He visits a lot of projects and conferences and because he truly is interested in people he walks around and meets local people.  But in this day and age – what do people want?  They want a selfie with him.  So, he has a queue of people with cameras.  Amongst those hankering after him, are beautiful young women.  It is not uncommon for him to receive propositions and proposals of marriage from beautiful women, some half of his age.  He is not physically in the best of shape (I am being kind) as he has little time to exercise and a lot of his work involves sitting in very long meetings and he travels for long hours.  But nonetheless, these women think he is a catch.  He is a man in a position of great trust.  He is devoted to giving his best within his role and the responsibilities he carries.  He feels at this point he is better able to be effective if he is not anxious for the emotional and other needs of a woman, so he is trying not to be distracted.  He knows these women would not be interested in him if it were not for his being in the lime-light because of the enormous responsibilities he has been entrusted with.  Some of these women might have a very misled idea about his life being glamorous or financially rewarded.  Imagine one of these beautiful women takes a selfie with him and the picture is misused.  Well…!

Sometimes….a person’s desire or request for privacy may be nothing to do with fearing they have anything sinister or disgraceful they want to hide.  They may be naturally and normally a very open people person who is happy to share themselves with others.  In some cases, they might just want to be able to get on with the work that is so important to them without fear of a camera catching a moment of tiredness or thoughtlessness and then publishing it for the whole world to judge or mock.  The issue is the attitude of people (press and public) who seem to be endlessly entertained by trivial things, a fascination with what a person drinks, all the things they might do in their spare time, any clues about a budding romance…it goes on and on.

So these men (and women) might find it hard to ever feel “off-duty”.  Of course, they are utterly dependant on their close associates to understand that when they see their imperfections up close….to expose these could have a detrimental effect on the invaluable work they are doing.

There is always going to be a little pocket of my life that I have to be very selective and careful when referring to…simply because I have seen great men be brought down by merciless media and puerile public.  I care too much, far too much about the great work they are doing.  If I relate an experience it will generally to be to make a point, I try not to use them for entertainment value.  But in doing so I am always feeling cautious that I might carelessly be including a detail that seems perfectly innocent to me, but someone else might pick up on it and see it as a way to inflict some damage.

I care for these men.  Not romantically.  But I have seen them up close, and yes, they are imperfect, but I believe they are worthy of all the support and loyalty those like me who have worked with them on projects and socialized with them can muster.

There are some men and women who are in high profile roles, they work tirelessly, they are passionate about what they do…I know many who are amongst those for whom fame really does no favours.