Expectations are funny creatures.
The presence of an expectation implies a plan, goal, or at least some kind of thought about a future event or activity. In my mind, plans and goals are good things; they’re things to work towards or look ahead to. So naturally, by some sort of transitive property that should mean expectations are good things too…but I don’t know if that’s always true.
I’m sure you’ve heard of people saying they don’t let themselves have expectations so they don’t have the opportunity to be disappointed. Makes sense to me, but whether its actually possible to not develop those little “creatures of expectation” is certainly up for debate.
They’re a little bit strange too, so I think it fits…
Why the mental perusing through the zoo of expectation? Well, today officially marks my survival through another year of life. I can officially “check the box” on Sam’s life, year 23 and move on to Sam’s life, year 24.
Now I’m not one to go “all out” when it comes to birthdays. In my mind, once you hit 21, a birthday just becomes the day that you double check your math and re-figure out how old you ACTUALLY are. The thought of celebrating a “birthday week” seriously gives me anxiety – I’m much happier with a low key approach.
So today, in addition to checking my age math (I sure hope I’m not the only one that does that…) my mind wandered off and I started thinking about expectations. About the expectations or goals I have and the expectations or goals I had.
While I can’t “go back” and talk to my 20-something-year-old self, I can certainly remember certain thoughts and plans. At age 20, I expected my 24 year old self…
- To be in my 3rd year of veterinary school
- To be living in an apartment
- To be married
Clearly none of those expectations actually happened.
You know, that list literally makes me chuckle, especially the third bullet point. Looking back in hindsight, I can’t even begin to say how crazy that sounds. I’m not convinced I would be ready for a relationship now and the thought that my 20 year-old self felt it would be a good idea to get hitched? Well, yea…I mean sure some “big things” have happened, but still.
I thought I would be upset or disappointed looking back at myself looking forward; seeing those expectations I had never amount to anything. Seeing all the things I thought I would do and didn’t. Seeing all the things I’m NOT currently doing. But to be truly honest with you, I’m okay that what I expected didn’t happen and dare I say, I’m really glad that my reality doesn’t equal those old expectations.
Studying for my MCAT to apply to medical school this spring (I take it next Friday, so feel free to send up a prayer (or 8) for me:D) I could have gone out and “done” things but I was and am very content spending the time learning about how epic the human body is (and how to apply said knowledge in MCAT format).
In the minds of normal people, my day was probably a lame one; a volunteer commitment, a workout, and a lot of time with books and notes. But it’s a day that I found fulfilling as I work towards my new “expectations.” Side note: Don’t worry, I do plan on “legit” celebrating with the family — it just so happens that they’re all real people with real people jobs and other required real people related tasks, so weekends are a bit more conducive to that kind of thing.
I didn’t expect to be where I am — but I’ve grown to love it.
I love what I’m currently doing and I love what I’m striving towards.
My reality doesn’t match my expectations, it surpasses it.