Dealing with the weight of expectation (or not)

I’ve reached a point in my life where the person that I thought I’d be at this age and the person that I actually am are two very different people.

Since a young age I knew I would go to university. I loved learning, doing academic things, writing and the feeling of achievement and progression in life.

I have had two stints in the corporate world since graduating, both of which gave me cabin fever. By that, I mean I felt lured in by promise of ‘achieving’ and trapped by the comfortable lifestyle the money allowed me.

A series of unexpected events led me to my life now in New Zealand, and I wake up every day in grateful disbelief that I am actually here. But I also deal with great doubt stemmed from expectations of myself.

The internal dialogue goes something like this:

You’re twenty-f*cking-five. By now you should have your shit together man. Where’s your house? Do you even own a car anymore? What about marriage or even a stable relationship for Christ’s sake? Let’s not even talk about your lack of career, or even a clearly defined purpose, etc, etc.”

It’s pretty brutal.

And the more I think about it, the more I realise these were the expectations I invented myself… maybe while I was a child or teenager. They were constructed basically out of thin air by what I read, what society tried to tell me, what the previous generation did. All without a single consideration about who I am as a person and what actually gives meaning to my life.

Even now, as I’m living out my own dream, I put unbearable expectations on myself. “I must use every day I have off wisely, go on an adventure, do something new, spend money on an experience, buy the special ice cream you can’t get anywhere else, blah blah blah.” I am the absolute worst at chilling the f*ck out.

I’m grateful nobody else puts any expectation on me, because dealing with my own takes up enough head space as it is. I’m well aware some people like to weight other people with expectations too- I’m guilty of doing it myself, although awareness makes all the difference now.

So, my mission, at least for the remaining few months I have here in the southern hemisphere, is to practice what I preach… be grateful, be mindful, and be present.

Who can relate?


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