It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to!!! OK it’s not quite my birthday (5 days away) and I’m not really going to cry. I actually really really like my birthday. I like Birthdays in general. It is the one day a year that is just about you. Or in this case me!!! It is a day to be celebrated. What a blessing it is to share another year of life with all of your friends, family, and loved ones.
So, why is the thought of crying even crossing my mind? Because I have a problem. No, it’s not what you think either. I will be 32 but fear of aging is not my problem. I can look at the women in my family and see that time will be kind to me and leave me easy on the eye. So I am not afraid of my looks fading or not being considered attractive by the opposite sex.
My problem is this: EXPECTATIONS!!!! I’ve always had them and they have always been high. At 22 I was plugging my salary into online calculators to see how much of each pay I’d need to save to be a millionaire by 30. Something must have been wrong with math cause I am a thousandair at best.
As the tag line of this blog says I’m all grown up and things are not quite how I imagined. My life has not matched my expectations. My life is not bad at all. It is just very very different from what I expected. Like most people birthdays prove to be a reflective time and my reflections always turn to the difference between what my life is and what I thought it would be, should be.
It’s amazing how if you are not careful the negative thoughts just jump right in. Will my life ever measure up to my expectations? Are my expectations unrealistic? Am I living in some type of fantasy world? And then I remember, I Am Chasing Joy!!! I can’t be my own Joy Thief! I may not be able to control every single thought that pops into my head but I can control how long I’ll entertain such non-sense. And the answer is not a second longer.
I learned a lesson when I was about 19 that I had forgotten until now. The reason I hated high school but loved college has to do with EXPECTATIONS. I went into high-school after watching my brother’s experience and a little too much TV. High School was nothing like Saved By the Bell and I was disappointed. College on the other hand, I entered with no idea what to expect. Other than feeling confident I could do the work I had zero expectations. Every day was a kind of adventure. Some things were not so good but most things were (kind of like my life now). But the lack of expectations paved the way for a lack of disappointment, also known as being content.
So, it’s my Birthday and I Can Cry if I want to, but I won’t! Instead I will make a mantra out of the Serenity Prayer, Let go of my preconceived expectations of how my life is supposed to be, and Chase Joy by celebrating my birthday in style with a spa day, dinner, drinks, and birthday cake with friends.
Do you think accepting that life will not be how you though a natural part of becoming an adult? Have any of you struggled with life not living up to your expectations? How have you let go of your expectations while holding firm to Joy?