I have been racking my brain for a week thinking about topics to write about. Since school let out there have been a lot of things to write about. I finished my freshman year. I have started looking into study abroad programs. I have been in a lot of drama lately with both girls and guys. And I have been looking into quitting my jobs more and more lately, one more than another. But today is the anniversary of a major day in my life and I think it would be unfair of me to over look a day that could have potentially changed everyone around me forever. Now, I don’t want a tell all, so a lot of details are going to be skipped out on, but I want to get a point across and I am hoping I am able to do so.
We live in a world of expectations. People expect us to be able to perform at work the way they want us to. People expect us to be able to bend over backwards for them. People expect us to be able to live up to what others did even though we aren’t them. That’s life and it’s sadly what we have to learn to live with. And in living in a world where so many people expect things from us, it’s pretty easy to start to expect those things from ourselves. So now, not only do other people have high expectations, but we set sky high expectations for ourselves that, let’s be honest, can’t in a million years be reached. And if they can be reached, they are at such a low probability to happen that we really should never be disappointed that it didn’t work out.
Now to be fair, sometimes we have real goals. Things that we can reach, if we work hard enough, they exist. But luck sometimes has to be playing on your side, and we all know how often that happens. What ends up happening is that we put in countless hours and out blood and tears into something, only to be highly disappointed when it all ends and we end up not doing as well or not being in the spot we want to be at. If you can sit here and read this and say you have never experienced the feeling of getting a B- on a test or a paper that you worked for hours and hours to get prepared for, you are simply not human. We all know the feeling. The feeling of our stomachs dropping, our hearts literally stopping for a quarter of a second. The feeling when the world comes crashing down around you and all you can do is watching the pieces shatter down around you. It happens. We have all been there in one way or another. The worst part of that is working so hard to reach your goals and not being able to do it.
But that’s because we reach our expectations too high. It happens, and as a human race, I think it’s too hard for us NOT to do that because it’s what we’ve been taught. It is what we have learned to know.
When those things happen there are a few things that happen consequently depending on who you are. For me it usually goes like this. World shatters around me. Cry. Scream. Cry again. Tell myself I am giving up and never trying again. Call my dad. Feel a little better. Still kick myself down for a couple of days. Convince myself I am going to turn things around. But that’s in the best case scenario. As much as I would like to say that I always have my father at my side on things, sometimes there are certain situations that I know he would not understand because I hardly understand them myself. Those are the times were I literally stop the process at “tell myself I am giving up and never trying again.”
Because the thing is we know the people around us. We know how they are going to react in certain situations. We know what they are going to say, the words they are going to use, and exactly how they are going to say it. We only talk to them in certain situations for the reinforcement of what we want to hear, what we need to hear. And sometimes we don’t want to hear those things because we think that we can’t get up from where we are. That everything literally everything crashed down. And of course it’s mostly not that case.
We put ourselves on these pedestals to be the best and not let anyone get ahead of us. So when we come in second, it feels like everything we have worked towards is over, and so we fall into depression and sometimes we fall into such horrible depression that we really think it’s the end. We think there is no where to go. That there is no up and no forward, so we might as well go back. We might as well just stop where we are and end it. We don’t want to wait out the storm to see what the sunshine brings. And honestly, it usually has a lot more to offer.
Not everyone can be saved from these sorts of feelings. That is why we lose loved ones. Sometimes people come to their own senses. In my case, I had amazing friends that told me that I had nothing to be fighting against. They told me that I was an amazing person even if I wasn’t number one. They reminded me that it was only me who led me up to these insane expectations of myself. And with that knowledge and their support I was able to push through my low and conquer the hurricane and save myself.
Now have I found a smooth silky ride since that? If I had I probably wouldn’t have this blog and I probably wouldn’t have the crazy thoughts that fill my head to date. But I take it now, and I use it differently. I still make expectations for myself. I still set myself on such high standards that it’s hard to ever get there. But I realize now that with each step I take and every two steps I take back, it’s not the end. It’s the journey. With every bump, I learn something new. With every curve, I find a new reason to live. And with every road block, I meet someone knew. These storms, sometimes these hurricanes, they make us who we are. They make us unique yet they make us all one because we all experience similar situations in different ways. We’ll never have the strength to conquer each storm head on. Some of them will get us down. Sometimes for a few hours and sometimes for days. But what really makes the difference is going into it knowing that there is a light somewhere and we just need to ride it out.
As much as I wish I had not done what I did one year ago, I am glad to have been able to learn from the event. I am glad to have been able to find out how honest and caring my friends are. And more importantly I am glad that I have been able to become a stronger person because of it. I always thought I would give up by now. I haven’t yet. And now, more than ever, I have a reason to strive to keep going. Because even if my life doesn’t end up the way that I have expected it to, I have so many dreams and so many different plans that some of them are bound to happen sometime. I just can’t wait to see where this world takes me and who I meet along the way. Bring on the storms. I can take them now.