I think most of us have expectations of what our lives should be. From daily mundane tasks to who we will become at some set date in the future. We create an idea or many ideas of what we want from life. I think it’s part of the reason we’re so disappointed when life doesn’t turn out quite the way we thought it would, even in the smallest, most insignificant things. I think of when I plan my days right down to the very last half-hour sometimes. But no matter how detailed, how perfectly calculated a day is planned, it seldom goes exactly as planned.
This is not to say that every day I plan is a disappointment. On the contrary, it is not. But even on the days I need to be as perfectly put-together as possible, something is bound to happen that was not a part of my schedule. The train comes late, I forget to take the printed document or copy that I needed, a meeting goes longer than I anticipated, etc. And then of course beyond these everyday things, are the major life events that we planned on and planned for. And well, life has other plans.
Most people who I consider mentors have always told me that they never planned on doing what they are doing. That if they could have written their life stories during their 20-something years; the story that they have is not the story they would have written. I’m only in my twenties, 2 years after college, so I don’t have that much life experience to go on. (Even though sometimes I may feel like I do.) But if I do compare what I thought my life would be like in my twenties in high school or even college, to what it is now, this is definitely not the story that I thought I would be writing.
I think that human beings as a species, we struggle with the “shoulds” of life. We are raised by society to believe that life is supposed to happen a certain way. And if it doesn’t happen that way, then we need to get our lives back on track. Or something. The funny thing seems to me, however, is that we have all these “shoulds” and expectations of what our lives should be like, but very few, if anybody’s life, ever turns out exactly the way they thought it should.
The best part about life not turning the way you think it should have, is that usually it still turns out perfectly okay. And sometimes it’s more than okay; it’s better than you could have possibly imagined for yourself. Or maybe that’s just a matter of perspective but that seems like a perspective worth having. Have dreams and wishes and expectations; prepare for life in some ways. But don’t hold on to disappointments of life because of what you thought your life would be like, hasn’t come to pass. Especially when you are perfectly fine. Especially when you are more than perfectly fine. Just because your life hasn’t turned out the way you thought it should, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t turned out well.
And as that sappy Grey’s Anatomy quote says,
…But sometimes our expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You’ve got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still, the expected’s just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives.