I think expectations can be one of the biggest detours to happiness that ever existed. I actually think about this fairly often in life. And after seeing Bad Moms, I think about it again.
In life you get hit with other people's expectations pretty soon. I mean, right as a baby you are expected to develop at a certain rate. And that's fine I suppose. But the expectations grow to an oppressive standard in a really quick time.
As a girl, I learned right away that not all expectations were good. I was expected to be weaker than the boys. I was expected to be less physical, back down, sit down, and not work as hard. In a small town, peoples' expectations of who I was as a person were almost a prison at times. I remember how excited I was when I left for college. I went several states a way where no one knew me. I could be the person that I'd always pictured myself to be, and no one would question that. No one would remember when I cried in elementary school because there was a bad storm. No one would think I wasn't courageous or thoughtful or brave. There were no expectations, and it was wonderful.
When I moved back home and got married, I found that marriages can have many problems with expecations. His expectations of me and my expectations of him were a good distance from the reality of who we were as people. Enter the children and there was a whole other set of expectations, (from both sides again), that weren't based on anything but the way we thought things should be.
To this day I still try and deal with the expectations that I put on myself. Although I make a point to remind myself that I am only human, I do seem to keep reverting back to putting the pressure on myself to be everything to everybody in my family. I know it's an impossible goal. And I try to remind myself of this. But there is the natural protective, nurturing side of a person and there is the learned expectations of what a good wife and mother should be. And then with me, there are the things I know I can be with my business and with my health, and just everything else.
So I have an idea. Going forward, to help myself combat expectations that may have good intentions but horrible implications, I am going to remember that feeling when I went away to college. I am going to remember standing on the streets of Tulsa and looking around, seeing nothing but possibilities. When there are no expectations, there are only possibilities. And that is quite the freeing feeling. And every now and then, when I remember that feeling, I'm going to drop the expectations that I hold on to. That feeling wasn't because of Tulsa. That feeling, for me, was because I had dropped all expectations. And expectations hold root inside me, not on a sidewalk in a new town. So I can drop them now, just like I did then. A lot of prayer and a lot of forgiveness, faith, understanding, hope, and love can get me there. When I'm there, I'm going to soar. I mean really soar. With no weight holding me down, how could I do anything but soar?
Tomorrow already holds a lot of expectations for me. I've made most of them myself. But in the morning, when I wake up, I'm going to drop them all. I'm going to brush all the options off my plate, on to the table. Then, with a clear and thoughtful mind, I'll choose which things I put back on my plate. I will intentionally chose, with no preemptive expectations, which things will I take on for that day.
Tonight I am thankful that expectations run wild can go back in to place when stared down and confronted. I had expectations for today with the kids that didn't all happen. I had expected a whole list (yes, I wrote a list) of magical, end of summer memories to be made. We didn't even leave the house until after noon. But in those earlier day hours, when I was lamenting my gone expectations for the pre-lunch hours, I stopped and I heard my children laughing. I heard them joking with each other and having fun. Granted, they were enjoying each other's company because they were collectively trying hard not to do their chores. But, even that camaraderie was enough for them to enjoy the moment and each other. I didn't expect that. I expected them to do their chores when I asked. But I think the better outcome was what my children did without expectations of their own!