Expectations. We all have them. We carry them for ourselves, for those around us, even for the things we surround ourselves with. We carry the weight of expectancy.
Open up Facebook and click through the news feed drudgery. What you’re most likely to find are the poorly spelled and perhaps misguided hopes and dreams these people are waiting for.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as people we are born with eyes bigger than our stomachs. But the problem comes down to … waiting.
Patience is a virtue but as another old adage goes, you can certainly have too much of a good thing. I fear that the waiting game has become such a stalwart institution in the mind of my generation that there is little in the way of stopping it from becoming the defining characteristic of the majority of us.
It’s only on a cold and rainy day, just after Thanksgiving, could I find myself in such a stupor over this. It’s these days that kindle the mind and demand personal reflection from me. The days where I don’t mind walking a little farther than normal, for some reason. I have spent much of my life hoping for different things, dreaming of a change and wondering when it was going to come my way. When would the next seminal experience come about and sweep through my conscience?
My life has largely been dictated by a handful of dramatic events and whether I wanted them to or not, they forever changed who I would become.
That shift started a long line of dominoes helping to culminate into the mass of letters behind this blinking cursor on a computer screen. I didn’t have control over when or where these events transpired, but the minute I stopped letting them define who I am, it helped to change me into someone better.
For the first time, I feel allowed to go out and create these experiences instead of waiting around for them to merely occur.
I certainly don’t have all the answers. No one does, and being born into the unknown gives it a sort of home feeling. But at some point that feeling has stopped a large contingent of us from exploring and finding our own conclusions. These conclusions build our expectations, and our expectations build our dreams.
We’ve grown complacent. We’re all waiting for something. We work and whittle away at our time here, we grind out the days with aspirations that something will eventually just fall from the heavens and demand our attention with a thousand trumpet blasts, accompanied by a blinding white light.
Such luck rarely exists, and we must rally within ourselves the honesty to admit that what we wish for in life will not comply by the luxury of anyone else’s doing but our own.
With each year, I learn more and more about myself and this year seems to have taught me that you cannot vilify the intangible and expect to wake up the next day with all of what you wanted from life laid out before you. There is so much more to life than expecting. Action. Compromise. Struggle. Consequence. Risk. Loss. Reward. In every red mark there’s a lesson learned. And in every success there’s redemption.
Another semester passes, and with it another graduating class. I will be joining them soon enough, but to those graduating I say this: learn not to expect great things, but to earn them. Learn to quit talking so much and live. Spontaneity will teach you the wonder of free-range living.
Expect nothing but the unexpected, work and be rewarded. Learn that the work you do will show in that reward; poor work will never yield what a good and earnest living can accomplish. Be a library of good will and hard work.
If we can learn to stop waiting and live without expectations, I think we can expect a life full of the joy and wonder that we’ve all been waiting for.