We are living in a very unprecedent time. Not because of the choices we made, but because the circumstances of our new reality. We didn’t ask for a pandemic to hit our world, but we are better prepared this time than more than 100 years ago. We will be fine if we are smart enough to follow the rules of this new reality.
Early on, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was afraid to step outside knowing that a novel virus was ready to infect anyone. Although I was afraid of my health, I had to think about those around me. What are the chances of recovery if you fall ill? Chances are very high, more than 90%. It is a great number, even higher if you are outside of the high-risk age bracket.
I have been in similar situations where things looked bad, but at the end of the day, I made it with great success. I set my expectations very high because I am an optimistic. I believe that if real expectations are going to hit me hard, it’s something that I am willing to live with. It’s going to be painful, and it will make me re-evaluate my goals. It will delay the outcome, but I am here for the full ride.
When I arrived to the US, I lived in Vermont during the winter season. Everything I experienced around me was snow and cold weather for almost four months. I thought that my English was good and that I would be able to communicate effectively, but the reality was different. I struggled a lot and I felt very frustrated because the learning process was slow. I felt like giving up and leaving. Time, patience, and good people showed me that I had to readjust my mindset to become a better version of myself, one that could probably speak better English.
Years later, I was in Montreal. I was very excited to be there because I learned to love cold weather. The challenge this time was with French. Could I really speak Spanish, English and French effectively without mixing up the words? How about the accent and pronunciation? I was setting my expectations high and things took time to feel comfortable. Results have different timelines for everyone. If you are willing to put the time and you are confident about your skills, you can reach new heights. I took classes, and I put myself in situations where the only option was using language in every day conversations. I had a lot of practice when I’ve got a job conducting phone interviews. I used the three languages at work and I found a new profession. This position allowed me to move on to other places and learn more.
My last story has to do with running. During my first year of grad school, I found myself cheering for marathon runners in Akron. It was early in the morning and I enjoyed seeing hundreds of happy faces, tired faces, and determined faces running for the same objective. Can I do that? I asked myself. Then, I said “I am going to run the Akron Marathon next year”. I began my training six months before the race, but I don’t think I trained properly, a rookie mistake. At the day of the race, I was very excited and I chose to run with the 12-minute per mile pace group. I stayed with the group for about 10 miles, but then things started feeling really hard to the point that I had to stop to stretch. When I reached mile 22, I hit the wall – I had reached real expectations. I had to walk for a mile before continuing, but I could see some people returning with their medals and it made me anxious. I finished with a time of 5 hours and 30 minutes. Even though it took me a week to recover, I felt in love with running and I decided to continue running races.
No matter how you face your expectations, please be confident that everything will be fine. Make the best out of your life because we only have one.