Many of us are taught, early on, that we can do anything we set our minds to. Dreaming big dreams, having goals and knowing what we want is encouraged. It is often messaged in a way that we have to plan every element out to make our dreams come true. The heaviness of our own expectations can weigh us down and cause some rigidity. This rigidity is such that if life doesn’t turn out exactly as we planned it, then we’ve failed somehow.
When I was a little girl, I had a dream of being a lawyer when I grew up. That dream evolved as I got older. When I started college I decided I wanted to be a high school guidance counselor. The expectations that I had for my life were that I would ease through college and get a job as a guidance counselor. I would marry the man of my dreams, we’d have two kids, a big house and a swing set in the back yard. During my summers off, I dreamed of all the places my family would travel. I even planned where we would stay.
The thing about expectations is that, when things turn out differently, we feel like we let ourselves down. Often times we have everything perfectly planned out in our heads and it doesn’t work out that way. This can lead to such disappointment that it’s hard to see the possibility that it will work out even better than our “perfect” plan.
Real life curve balls can change our course in a beautiful way.
The real version of my life looks nothing like I expected it would; it’s much better. I am happier than I’ve ever been. How can that be? Shouldn’t I feel like I’ve failed to make my own dreams come true? I would challenge that to say that I have made dreams come true that I never knew were possible. My version of happiness looks different at 39 years old than it did when I was 18. Life doesn’t always turn out like we expect that it will. It throws us curve balls that sometimes change the trajectory of our lives. Sometimes, we have to embrace those changes to get where we are meant to be so we can become the person that we were meant to be.
Life has a way of working out better than we’d ever hoped. It takes working towards our dreams as hard as possible, being open to something new and trusting life a little bit. As we go into 2020, I encourage us all to create a vision board, call our own shots, work towards our dreams and do everything, within our power, to get where we want to be. I also challenge us all to be open about how we get there and what the final picture looks like. Let’s not let curve balls become debilitating or the weight of our expectations get in the way. Instead, let’s embrace them for whatever the lesson is that they bring and make them work for us. We’ve got this!