Expectations seem to start the moment you are born. You’re expected to meet milestones. Smile. Roll. Crawl. Walk. Eat and drink on your own. The list goes on.
These expectations continue to follow you through school. Good grades. Good behavior. Participate. Learn. Grow. Then the big one, move out. This means you are expected to either get a job or go to college.
Naturally, we are socialized to view expectations as a necessary part of life. We begin to set our own expectations. Education. Career. Relationships. Appearance. Many times these things are set based on pressure we feel to conform to what society deems as appropriate. The next step, so to speak.
Adult life is viewed with excitement. Anticipation of the independence we have so longed for. The fruition of all of our hard work and dedication. Expectations realized.
But it’s not.
Real life is hard! It’s full of disappointment. There’s pressure. Stress. Failure. Death. We quickly find that things don’t always end up the way we thought they would.
I am only 35. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had lately with multiple friends discussing this exact thing. The feeling that their lives didn’t quite match up to the idea they had in their head. Everything from divorce, separation, infidelity, mental illness, and death. What surprised me more? The consistent theme of worry that they were too old to start over and find happiness. They had decided it was probably just unattainable.
If there is anything that child loss has taught me, it’s that life is short. You have no control over when it ends. None at all! You don’t have time. Time to waste on things that don’t add value to you personally and drive your happiness. People that cause you stress and undue negativity…cut them out. Drama that takes your focus away from what is important…gone. The death of your child gives incredible perspective and has the power to change you to the core.
These expectations that are placed on us, they are not our burden to bear! If someone wants to be disappointed, let them! That is their issue. Not yours. You do for you! Find out whatever it is that makes you happy and do more of it. Do it all the time. As often as possible. If that means someone is upset, maybe they shouldn’t have a place in your life. You only need people that understand your mission. Seek to understand you. That bring love and no judgement to the table.
It doesn’t matter if friends and family don’t get it. At the end of the day, it is your life and it should be exactly what you want it to be. Reconnect with the “old you”. The person you were before you realized you were unhappy. What did you give up? How do you get it back? You are never too old to start putting yourself first. To find your own version of happy. There is a reason you are here in this world and it is not to do as others want.
The best self care out there is to find what truly makes you happy and stop conforming to expectations from everyone else. Expectations are crap!
What makes you happy?