There are a lot of expectations in the world. I, for one, have too many for myself, and don’t often live up to them.
But are all the expectations you perceive real? Or simply a figment of an intense imagination? And what happens when what you expect yourself to want and what you actually want, don’t really match up all that well?
I think I dream of a stable, accomplished career; a career where I’m revered in my field of choice as an expert or a visionary, where I’m making groundbreaking discoveries and attaching my name to projects and research and working countless hours because I’m dedicated, much moreso than my colleagues.
But I often worry that what I’m working towards is a fantasy that I’ll ultimately hate, a dream-life that’s been cultivated from recognizing what people respect (“my daughter’s a doctor/lawyer/foreign diplomat/successful entrepreneur” always seems to really awe people at social gatherings) and not from gathering my own experience in life and deciding which were meaningful to me.
Everyday I spend hours pouring over hydrocarbons, and equilibrium constants, and photosynthesis–but I wish I was out meeting new people, seeing new places, running ultra-marathons, and whatever else tickles my fancy.
I think what I’ve come to learn from this introspection is that life is a balancing act. This is not a new revelation, I know, and it’s definitely a bit cliche, but when you can take your own experiences and solidify a cliche it begins to seem a lot more genuine. Maybe I’ll never realize the dream I have right now, and maybe I will. Maybe I’ll choose something totally new. Maybe I won’t love it, but hopefully I’ll at least like it a little bit. Maybe I’ll get the chance to travel for a couple weeks out of every year, and maybe I’ll never get to run an ultra-marathon but maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to run in the Boston Marathon.
Trying to plan out life too early is a flawed system. When you’re twenty years old, you don’t know what is going to happen, and you don’t know why. The world is a crazy place, but people tend to find their place in it as soon as they stop trying to.