I hold an English minor from my undergrad days, one with a heavy emphasis on literature (immense gratitude to Dr. John McCombe for that) but I’ll be 100% honest with you, I have never read Great Expectations. I’m sure I was probably supposed to at some point but if I remember correctly, I saw the movie and read the Pink Monkey Notes. It just never held my attention.
A Tale of Two Cities? Could read it once a week. Where The Red Fern Grows? Bawled my eyes out. To Kill A Mockingbird? In love with and want to marry Atticus Finch. Little Women? I think about asking my mom to read it to me every time I go home. But Great Expectations? Ehhh.
But I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about expectations. We all have expectations in our lives. But, do we have a clear vision of expectations in our lives?
My life hostage and I were in our bathroom getting ready one day and I made a comment about needing to get some more muscle tone. He looked at me, very puzzled, and asked why? I made some flippant comment about how this was not the girl he fell for, she had that muscle tone I was looking for. Again, puzzled, he turned to me, smacked his (what he perceives as huge, but in reality is far from it) beer gut and said, “Do you know what this is? Happiness. And beer. But I can tell you I drank a hell of a lot more beer before I met you.”
Then, per usual, he walked out. Leaving me alone with my thoughts. It’s an annoying habit of his. But he got me thinking, with his version of a very sweet compliment.
Did I think he had this expectation of the perfect girlfriend? Because the reality seemed like, he didn’t. Was I putting undue expectations on myself? Of course I couldn’t let this concept go, like a dog with a bone, I just kept thinking about it.
HKP sent out a Project Wednesday email over the summer that said, “Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.” I love that phrase. And it struck me, that phrase is appropriate when it comes to expectations.
Be gentle with yourself, don’t put expectations on yourself that aren’t really there. The world expects enough from all of us, don’t add to that with expectations you think others have of you. They’re probably too busy with their own expectations to take time and come up with some for you. And even if they do, who cares? Let them talk about your lack of perfection. How boring would life be if everyone was perfect?
You are doing the best you can, day in and day out, because you’re good people. I am a true believer in the rose colored glass phenom that everyone has inherent good in them, somewhere. We’re all just doing the best we can, even when it comes to our muscle tone.
I am not saying to stop reaching for your dreams, but don’t beat yourself up along the way. I have had my fair share of bumps, scrapes, bruises, and broken bones to know that beating yourself up does nothing for you. As the great pop culture poet, Van Wilder, says, “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” I’m thinking it’s time to find a rocking chair and try to read Great Expectations yet again.