MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
A majority of my "adulting" experience has been shaped by my expectations not being met in certain situations. When you’re not sure how something is going to turn out because you’ve never personally experienced it yourself, the way you set your expectations probably look like this:
How has this worked out for other people (that I personally know)
How has this worked out for other people (that are on TV)
Perhaps you take these two perspectives, find a happy medium, and hope your fate is similar. Ok, this may not have been your personal approach but it sure was mine! It was naive, but whose youth didn't include a bit of naivety?
It's a very humbling moment when something doesn't go as planned, and the first thing you ask yourself after cycling through grief is "what was I expecting?" I'm the kind of person who needs to be brought back down to earth to realize that the plans I have for myself sometimes aren't always all that, and to re-evaluate how I approach situations.
As a young adult, I'm just starting to realize our problems seem much larger than they are because we didn't have realistic expectations, if any at all. I've heard the phrase "manage your expectations" at least three times this past week. The word 'manage' made me really consider the difference between managing and setting expectations.
It's generally easy to set an expectation. Amongst other aspects of life, I set expectations for my health, education, and personal life. It's one thing for me to tell myself I plan on being more conscious of my health before my next birthday, but what does that even mean or look like? In my opinion, it's an advanced idea but not yet a plan. Being healthy is such a broad idea that it gives me room for compromise - which is why I am still not healthy. But if I had managed my expectations, I would realize that I have to be realistic with myself or else I will just always succumb to bad habits and be too forgiving with myself.
Over a period of time, that goal you have for yourself goes through circumstantial changes and that's when the expectations you've already set have to be managed according to those changes. This is the hardest part, because if everything has been working decently up to that point, how do you know what to accommodate and in what ways? Sometimes things haven't been working that decently, but often times we get comfortable with complacency because it's better than not working out at all. If that makes any sense.
I don't think that managing expectations is the solution to seeing my goals to fruition, because I know often times still haven't worked out and it's okay. I have found that when I do set expectations however, when things don't go as planned, it feels different than defeat. It's hard having prepared for the worst, and when it comes it's still a shocker. It'll have you feeling like, "Wow, I really woke up early and canceled all my shifts this weekend to study and still got a C on that exam? How did this happen." Life will run its course whether you've planned for it or not. But with life being full of surprises like they say, I'd rather be be expectant of some of them.