Great Expectations

Posted: January 12, 2012 in Family, Friendship, Life, Love
Tags: , , , , ,

We all have expectations, and being that we’re products of our environment, I think it’s safe to say that those expectations are based on the things around us.

For example, I grew up well-fed, with a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. So it seems pretty realistic to expect that I’ll have clothes to put on in the morning, I’ll get to sleep indoors, and I won’t go hungry.

So how is it, that as we get older—our expectations seem to get out of whack? What changes in our makeup—that makes us think we’re entitled to good things, and that we’re immune to bad things?

A man that I used to work with at the Des Moines Register passed away today. He’d battled cancer a few years back, and this time it came back with a vengeance. A week ago today, another former coworker called me to let me know he was in hospice, and seemed to be in pretty good spirits—and now today, he’s gone.

I’m fairly certain that when Dave was younger, he didn’t expect to pass away in the manner that he did. We all know that death is inevitable, but rarely does that make it any easier for those of us left behind.

I know that it isn’t healthy to go around expecting bad things to happen to you, but on the flip side of that coin—isn’t it just as bad to go around expecting nothing bad to EVER happen? I’m not naïve enough to think that bad things can’t happen to me—I’d just prefer to not think about them, until they happen…IF they happen.

I do have certain expectations in regards to my life and the people in it. I expect my family and friends to love me unconditionally, and to support me in my decisions. I expect to be respected by those around me, and I expect to be treated the way others would like to be treated. Here’s the problem though—should we really be EXPECTING those things? When we begin to expect things—isn’t that when we start to take them for granted?

I expect to live a long, happy, healthy life—but you know what that’s causing me to do? It’s causing me to make up excuses for not doing things because, ‘I’ve got a good 50 years left in me.’

I guess my point here is that I’m not sure we should EXPECT anything. Life can change in the blink of an eye, regardless of what our expectations are. I’m unbelievably grateful for the love and respect  that have taken root in my daily life—and if that changed on any one person’s part, I’d be devastated, but maybe on some level that’s because I’ve come to expect it.

The thing is, you have to have realistic expectations. It’s not out of line for me to expect my mom to love me—not in my family. It would however, probably be slightly out of line, to expect the President of the United States to respect me.

It’s okay to have expectations—but don’t let them rule your life. Don’t let them cause you disappointment, or frustration—but at the same time, don’t settle for less than you should. It’s a slippery slope—having expectations, but with patience and grace—you can figure it out.


  1. wmarsau says:

    I agree totally with what you said. I have learned, probably the hard way, that the only thing in this life that I can truly count on without a doubt is that God will always love me greater than anything I can fathom and He will always be there for me. Also, that everybody dies someday. Other than that there is nothing that you can count on for certain.

    I have a little exert I read a while back that I keep taped to my computer. I would like to share it here:

    As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back. Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin. Life is short, live each moment to the fullest.

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