How much of your life is operating off of expectations?
When I really thought about it, the list was never ending:
We expect our mornings to be rushed, because the snooze button is a subtle temptress who always betrays us in the end.
We expect our restaurant order to come with a side dish. Unless you live in New York City, and then you learn that even a side of ketchup is a la carte.
We expect that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle we must have a gym membership. We also expect that having a gym membership automatically means we’re going to use it.
Of course, these expectations go a bit deeper:
We got a college degree, so we expect we’ll get a job somewhere within our field of study.
After ten years at this job, we expect we’ll get a promotion.
By this time, we’re thirty-five, so it’s expected that we should be married by now.
The reality though, is that, try as we did, our life really doesn’t look anything like we expected. This makes no sense to us. We thought that if we did all the right things and were good enough that God would answer our prayers. Another expectation.
And don’t fool yourself into thinking that our art escapes expectations grasp:
When we make a movie, we expect it to be around 90 minutes.
When we write a song, we expect it to have an ABABB structure.
If the clothes we make are trendy enough, it’s expected that we should charge a certain amount.
Or even worse, we avoid making stuff altogether because we expect it to fail.
No one will want to read what I write.
No one will want to watch what I make.
No one will want to listen to what I say.
The voice inside our head says we should expect to be ignored. So why even try?
At this point, you’re probably realizing that you have your own gigantic list of expectations, some of which you probably didn’t even realize you were holding.
Here is the good news though: You are free to defy expectation.
Here is some just as equally good news: You are also free to follow expectation.
The key word here is not expectation, it’s free. It’s accepting that, with most things in life*, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. There is only preference. There is only choice. There is freedom. Celebrate it.