Sometimes You Gotta Live Más
Or so reads my Taco Bell cup I can spy glaring at me from over there in the trash can by my desk, causing me waves of guilt and serving as a visual reminder of last night’s shameless “treat yoself” burrito splurge.
Not going to lie, after braving the heat to run, then falling down in the dark in the park and bruising my pride, getting swarmed by palmetto bugs (a.k.a. roaches flying around my house), then bit in between my knuckles by ants while trying to take a shower, I was done. I’d had enough of summertime in Florida for one night. So I jumped in the car and drove across town to wait 20 minutes in a line of more than 10 cars in the Taco Bell drive thru, all for two terrible, yet terribly delicious, veg-friendly burritos.
Living the dream y’all. Living the dream.
But this isn’t a story about my first world problems that aren’t actually problems at all. This is a story about living más (or living more in case you need a translation).
So here I am, back to staring at my Taco Bell cup in the trash can.
While I don’t necessarily think the idea of living más is exactly how it is portrayed in Taco Bell’s Superbowl commercial—hanky-panky in the bathroom stalls, or impulsive tattoos—recently I have faced up to the fact that I’ve placed far too much weight on the expectations in and of my life. In a large nutshell, I’ve expected too much from life, and experienced too little of what it’s given me.
These expectations I am talking about are ones that are imbedded in my brain when I go to bed at night, and remain there in the morning without my even realizing. These expectations have piled on increasingly as I’ve “grown up,” and have even found a way to get transferred over and unfairly placed upon people I care about. How could anyone possibly live up to an expectation that I have for them if I don’t even tell them what it is? And what right do I have to expect in the first place? When did hoping and dreaming and going and doing become replaced with silent expectations and unreasonable demands of the world?
Sometimes sitting silent is bliss, and it’s something I do often, but when silence turns into the subconscious crafting of expectations that those around you will never live up to, that the world will never live up to, and that you yourself can’t live up to (this one’s the real kicker), you may find yourself feeling defeated. You may lose what would have been the joy of the experience had you not been so focused on some fabricated idea or unrealistic expectation you had of how it was going to turn out. You become so set on the idea of something that you ignore the beauty of what would have been the flawed but glorious actual experience. (And by you, I clearly mean me).
I’m not sure where this idea of or desire for perfection came from, but I realize that I have a hard time and real issue with it. I spend so much time worrying about letting other people down, analyzing the expectations that I feel they’ve place on me, failing to realize that these are merely expectations I’ve placed on myself. I have an equally hard time not demanding an unattainable level of perfection in my work. It’s great to always want to be better or even your best self but when it takes away from the passion of where you’re at and what you’re experiencing, it can become detrimental. What I am realizing is that expectation can become a world of unfair taking, while experience opens the door to a world of giving, a world of doing.
I am not saying we should all have a grand total of zero expectations and just take every single thing as it comes and be okay with the result regardless of what it is (although hey, maybe this is the best idea yet), but might I suggest sharing your expectations of yourself and of your life with other people, so that together we can begin to shift from a world that relies more on expectations, to a world that offers even greater experiences.
Expecting that something or someone is going to behave a certain way or trying to predict your own reaction to something before you even stick a toe in and test the water robs you of so many possible experiences, and can be crippling. Moments suddenly become so contrived that instead of feeling weightless, you can barely stand up straight because the weight of it all has become far too heavy to bear.
Like everything else in life, it takes balance. Not expecting so much of yourself that you bleed out, but expecting enough that you push yourself to keep on keeping on. Not expecting things of others you can’t even expect from yourself. And above all, experiencing more.
When all else fails and you simply feel as though you can barely make it another moment through a day that you expected to have turned out differently, might I suggest driving across town to Taco Bell, splurging on some burritos, ordering an ice cold cup of water on the side to beat the summer heat, and then reading the top of your cup for a little inspiration.
Sometimes you gotta live más.
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Will it feel the same when you tell me you love me over the phone? Will the peacefulness of those words still floor me from thousands of miles away?
I was conflicted. It felt like one eye was trying to look away while the other soaked it up. I felt the heat rise in my face. This was wrong. But it didn’t feel wrong.
Any nervous flyer knows the progression of descending panic: bile, sweaty palms, social awkwardness and self-induced sedation.
I know how it feels when the weight of darkness crashes down onto your chest in the middle of the night, and how you wish things would stop spinning because the axis seems tilted now. I know, love, I know.