On Expectations

A week ago, I turned 24 and didn’t have a major crisis about it. Those of you who know me are probably rolling your eyes and wagging your fingers thinking that is a complete lie, but I’ll tell you why it isn’t. In previous years, I’d spent half of my birthday trying to freeze time and the other half mourning the time I’d wasted. Why am I not Gabby Douglas? Is it too late to be the youngest, greatest, Tanzanian tennis player of all time? Will I have at least 50K facebook/twitter followers by 25 (or 27) ? Just kidding – no one (except me) wants to be internet famous.

The truth is, it’s incredibly self-involved and one-dimensional to lament the failure to reach a set of unrealistic expectations. Not only are we blessed with opportunities to succeed and the capabilities to reach our goals, we are fortunate to have a skill much less utilised. This is the ability to love ourselves. I used to proudly declare myself a lifelong pessimist. I inherently believed this was an unshakeable fact of life. Then I realised something glaringly obvious to almost everyone (or so it seemed): Feeling shitty makes you feel shittier. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many times you hear it. It takes a while to sink in.

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As much as I like to think otherwise, I highly doubt I am wiser at 24 than I was at 21 or 18. The difference this year is I am choosing to love and accept myself. This year, I am setting goals and holding myself accountable to them with the expectation that if I fail, I will still love and be kind to myself. I will make new goals and continue to buy myself a celebratory KitKat when I’ve walked the two blocks home from Bathurst station, instead of taking the 511 streetcar – BECAUSE I AM WONDERFUL! If I can use half the energy necessary for self-criticism to nurture a healthy relationship with myself, I will be much better off.

So here’s to KitKats, 10,000 steps and daily affirmations!

P.S. Welcome to soojourner 🙂 Hope you stick around!

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