Expectations vs. Reality | A Story Of Dealing With Life When It Doesn’t Go Your Way

Why limit a good life with high expectations?

You wake up on Wednesday morning and you’re staring at your ceiling with your eyes half open, feeling like the epitome of death. No, you didn’t party hard the night before. And no, you aren’t actually sick. Sure, you’ve been dealing with a migraine for the better part of the week, but you also feel this heaviness on your chest. You blame it on your chronic anxiety and try to push it away. You tell yourself as you’re pushing yourself out of bed that you need to be an adult that has bills to pay because you are an adult that has bills to pay.

You’re in the shower when it hits you and it doesn’t hit you gently. No, it hits you like a huge wave that almost knocks you down.

The reason why you feel so heavy? The reason why a new wave of depression is hitting you is because you’re thinking of the morning of Friday, May 21, 2010. Where you’re 17 and dreaming of the future on the morning of your graduation. You’re thinking of where you would be when you were 24, almost 25, and where you would be. Thinking that you’d be either working as a political journalist or in graduate school. You were drowning in other issues in that moment, but you had dreams. And you wouldn’t be that, as you put it, “deadbeat college student” that was in community college until they were close to 30. You kept thinking, “it can only go up from here.”

Then flash forward to Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 6:30am. You’re not a political journalist nor is that your major of study anymore. You’re not even close to your hometown and you’re studying something that you love- that you’re actually pretty freaking good at, but it’s not where you want to be.

No because you’re 24 years old, almost 25 and you’re still living at home with your dad and his girlfriend. You’re still in school and you have a job that is paying the bills. It isn’t your dream job, you actually really like it, but you’re looking at your friends’ lives. Some with budding careers and marriages and children. You don’t know what you’re doing with your life and suddenly all those expectations that the 17 year old version of you are creeping back in and you start beating yourself up. You start looking for excuses to shut the world out.

You go to work and then school and then you find yourself sitting outside of the theater department crying because the heaviness became too much. Then a friend, that you met just three and a half months before, comes out and talks you down. You begin to realize that your journey isn’t going to go the way you planned and that’s okay. Life isn’t meant to be easy, we aren’t meant to get our way all the time.

The thing about expectations is that they limit what this life, this world, has to offer. If we go on about life expecting things than what are we supposed to give in return? What’s the next right thing?

At 17 years old, you have expectations that seem legitimate and maybe they are, but are we really going to limit our lives because our imaginations take us to places that aren’t always logical?

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