For some the word can bring a warm fuzzy feeling to the inside parts. For others the word can cause an erruption of uncertainty and perhaps even feelings of disappointment.
For me? I think I hover someplace in between. Some days the word ‘expectation’ brings a good feeling. I think of all of the things that I am praying will come to pass in my life. I think of all of the dreams and goals that I think about in my mind on a regular basis or on occasion. I think about how good it will feel when I finally accomplish my goal of being debt free or how I will feel when I finally get paid to write professionally.
Then there’s the other form of the word. When I think of ‘expectations’ I get a weird feeling in my stomach, a very dark feeling of disappointment and hopelessness. I think of where I am in my life compared to where the so-called ‘average’ 20-something is at my stage. I think of all the things that I don’t have that other people my age have or have had for many years. I get a sinking feeling that I am ‘behind’, as if I need to ‘catch up’ somehow. My mind is bombarded with hundreds of images of expectations as I check my e-mail, shop for shoes or go down the street to get gas for the car. I am constantly reminded of how I do not ‘measure up’ to the expectations that have been set by society for my age.
But then I can’t help but think about how things would be different if I lived in a different location. If I lived somewhere different perhaps the expectation to have my own place, to have a yuppy college grad car, certain clothing and hairstyle would all be different.
I began this post in November of 2008 and the very train of thought I began my journey on remains on course. After living in Brazil for three months, I was exposed to the expectations of a different nation….a different set of cultural norms. In Brazil it is normal to be in your 20s and still live at home with the parents. Brazilians were surprised when I told them that I did not currently have a car, a boyfriend or that I couldn’t shake it and sing it like Beyonce. It was refreshing to live in a city with various forms of public transportation that allowed me the privilege of getting out and about without the need to ‘borrow the family car’.
Now back in the great old U.S. of A, I fight the burden of the expectations of my culture as I search expectedly for a job opportunity in a market flooded with desperate job-seekers. Classified ads for what I once considered to be a simple job (office clerk, receptionist, etc) now require the completion of a bachelor’s degree. What in the world? While I am usually good at ignoring the shoulda-coulda-woulda syndrome, it is tearing at my emotional immune system day by day, trying to wear me down.
Through it all, I’m holding on to my expectation of a possible outcome.