Episode 12: Moving the Goalpost
To be honest, we’re getting tired of talking about COVID-19, but our reluctance to do so hasn’t changed reality. Also, as the situation continues to evolve, it feels as if the finish line continues to run away from us. This week, we’ll be talking about what it’s like to see the goalposts move in this context but also how unmet expectations present themselves in our lives in the long run. Evan shares his fondness for cicadas, Lindsay is impressed with a vomit metaphor, and Michael expresses his hidden desire to be a country singer-songwriter.
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3:00 - The comforting sound of cicadas in summer, plus some thoughts on the summer became totally different than everyone initially perceived, even at the onset of the pandemic.
3:45 - “Moving the goalposts” is given a loose, but working definition for this episode
“We’re talking about some kind of end or expectation that is being shifted to something else. If you were running 50 meters but were suddenly told you had to run 100 meters, that is very, very different.”
6:15 - What the goalposts looked like at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and where we are now. Is Halloween up in the air at this point?
9:05 - Lindsay gives us some of her insight working with others dealing with disappointment and moved goalposts in her work as a counselor.
11:45 - How anger is usually our primary emotion when it comes to unmet expectations
“Anger is our natural, easy emotion to sit in. No one wants to admit they’re disappointed, sad, or even a little anxious. We don’t have the same power in those feelings so we just revert to anger.”
13:15 - How powerful it can be when we move past anger admit other emotions. Also, how gallows humor might seem like a substitute for anger, but it’s really accomplishing the same thing.
17:15 - Evan gives a colorful but effective illustration for prepping for disappointment by describing the sensation of vacating your bowels.
20:45 - The goalposts look to be continuously moving, and how the way we naturally process information isn’t helpful for current circumstances.
“When we get all new sorts of information at once, our brains can’t handle it. If we get information one piece at a time, we can add it to the collection and figure out where it fits. That’s how we were created and that’s a good quality of our minds. What’s hard about now is we have so many new pieces of information , we’re exhausted, so then we try to make those decisions while seeing how much information is out there.”
27:20 - How the pandemic is a microcosm of how goalposts are constantly moving in our lives all the time. MIchael talks about how goalposts are moved when married couples divorce or when families lose loved ones.
30:45 - Lindsay talks about the kinds of goalposts that are more typically held by women and what it looks like for those expectations to shift.
32:40 - Michael describes the teaching power of failure and how our society doesn’t value those lessons in the current climate.
35:45 - Evan talks about the difference between quantitative goals and qualitative goals.
“We don’t treat a lot of things as a means to gain clarity, we view them as a tangible product that needs to be accomplished. We want quantitative data, money in our bank account, or a salary number instead of launching from the outset with a curious mindset. The goal should be to find accurate information. The goal to dating is not to find a specific spouse, the goal should be discover what kind of person I should be with. “
38:00 - What lessons do we have to gain from the Old Testament plagues and how they compare to COVID-19? Michael makes an interesting observation about the presence of God with His people throughout all those events.
42:00 - A discussion on the psychology of prepping and hoarding. How certainty gives us the coveted feeling of control.
“We would rather be slaves tomorrow than to not know what’s going to happen next at all. What Christianity teaches us, though, is there is nothing under our control. Anything that feels like control in our lives is just a trick our brains play on us.”
47:40 - The importance of checking-in and having community in managing the goalposts in our lives.
52:00 - How do we set our next set of goalposts in a healthier way? How can we learn what was meaningful about our past expectations?