When I was 10, my teacher told my class to write down where we wanted to be when we were 20. I wrote that I would be living in Derry (a small city about 100kms from my house), that I would have three children and I would be studying to become a vet.
None of those things happened, not even close. And as I sit, an actual 18.5 thousand kms from my hometown, with my (quite obvious) lack of children, 28 years old and loving life more than I ever thought possible, I can’t help but laugh at the expectations of that little innocent 10 year old. But for her, none of that was a laughing matter, that was her future.
I try to remember that little girl when I make plans for my future. I try to remember the changes and leaps I have made from her to who I am now – the young woman that the older me will probably think back on and laugh heartily at. And so it will go on and on.
If I had clung tightly to what I expected my future to look like, my life would be nothing like what I want it to be. Releasing my expectations of what the future will hold has set me free to change my path when things aren’t working out for me, or to try absolutely new things I had never expected to try.
Releasing expectations can give us the ability to release disappointments, release frustrations, release the sense that we can only be happy if we receive one particular outcome. Releasing expectations allows us to accept where we are in life, and truly love our gorgeous, imperfect selves.
I am super goal-orientated, and the idea of realising expectations worried me at first. But I have come to realise that my expectations and goals must be flexible, living ideas rather than strict, unmovable ones if I want to genuinely achieve them. Releasing expectations gives us freedom to set goals from where we currently are. And without the ability to accept where we truly are at the moment, can we really know where we want to be?