During a general conversation about nothing in particular, a friend made me reminisce of where I was just three years ago. For my 35th birthday, I took the day off of work and proceeded to get myself good and toasted, although not in celebration. I was depressed. With a capital D. I saw myself and my life, where I was supposed to be at 35 and where I wasn’t, and cried the ‘tears into my beers’ about it.
My demands were of a different order. I was supposed to be making 6 figures by then or own my own business. I was supposed to have the house and the picket fence and spend every break the kids had at a beach house somewhere. I was supposed to have a healthy portfolio, retirement plans, savings accounts. I don’t know why I was diluted by the expectation of an upper-class American Dream.
Pitiful. I am ashamed of my former self for that pity party. But it got me thinking about the expectations I set upon myself then. Perhaps that’s where life is different for me now. I have no expectations for where I need to be, where I’m supposed to be, or even where I want to be. I simply want to be happy and fulfilled and doing good by others in my life. That is the only expectation I have for myself and for my future. Is it this that is making the difference in my perspective on my life now?
Demands of daily life are unavoidable, for sure. I love my job but know I would quit in a heartbeat if my bills paid themselves from the bottomless pit of money I might have found under that rainbow last week. And yes, as yesterday’s post clearly depicts, I still set very high demands on myself, but really they are all short-term expectations like spring cleaning chores, projects, and such. Goals and milestones…all very necessary for progressing forward in the walk of life. BUT, they are not the tall orders of meeting some sort of ‘life status’ criteria anymore.
I’m still chasing my shadow, but it’s to step into the sun – not onto some pedastool of “success” – whatever that even means.
If you’re reading this and feeling bad about the place you’re at in life, take the expectations off of yourself for a moment and ask yourself how you feel then? Would it be enough if you just asked for happiness and fruitful fulfillment from yourself?