Well I’m no longer in NYC, but after almost a full 8 hours (on Wednesday) of travel I am in my hometown of Las Vegas. I was nervous about returning to Las Vegas after leaving in June. Before heading off to law school I had a lot of responsibility from work to church and a good amount of friends, but I also had a lot of stress and bitterness towards all of the above. I had a great life: lived on my own in a great apartment, went to concerts and on trips regularly, had a lot of friend gatherings, a good paying job, made a home for myself at a great church which I loved serving at… I had a lot of great things going for me, but yet I still felt like I wasn’t enough, like everything around me wasn’t enough. Now, coming back after having time and distance from all my struggles and problems I noticed the major thread that connected everything together… high expectations.
In this chapter of Harry Potter a lot happens around the theme of expectations. Here’s the recap before we get into how expectations can help and hinder us.
Summer break is coming to an end. Harry and the Weasleys head off to the train station running late after having to turn around many times to pick up forgotten items at the Burrow. They get to the station and everyone but Harry and Ron make it to Platform 9 3/4. Harry and Ron can’t get to the platform, so they take the flying car that the Weasley clan arrived to the station in. Ron denies to fly the car to Hogwarts after hearing his father talk about the invisibility booster. Desperate to get to Hogwarts Harry gets in the car and the two take off. Not too long after they head out on their journey the booster falters and they are spotted by muggles. The car starts to get tired on the long journey and as they make it to the school they hit the whomping willow. They are soon found by Snape and escorted into the school where they think for sure they will be expelled. Snape gets McGonagall and Dumbledore. McGonagall gives the two boys detention and then sandwiches, not expelling them from the school. Ron and Harry head up to their common room, being found and scolded by Hermione outside the Fat Lady’s portrait. Once inside the Gryffindor Common Room they are cheered by the rest of their house and then they head off to bed.
In this chapter Harry and Ron had three big expectations that did not come to fruition: (1) being able to easily access the platform to get to school, (2) the invisibility booster working on the car, and (3) being expelled from school. Each time something didn’t necessarily work out as expected they always had a small reactionary moment following the occurrence. Stress was always present in leading up to each moment as well. And that’s the thing about expectations. When we constantly have these mapped out expectations in our lives we are far more disappointed when things don’t necessarily work out or we stress ourselves out leading up to the expected moment. For me in my job I had expectations around every corner. I expected great things from my staff, from myself, from my customers, from my peers and from my leadership. Every single time things failed to meet my expectations or it felt like I was swimming against the current trying to meet my expectations I found myself extremely stressed out and upset. When my friends failed to stick to plans or act the way I wanted them to then I felt betrayed and hurt by their actions. My life was this one giant bubble of expectations that always popped and then resurfaced just to pop again later.
When I went off to law school I brought that same mindset with me, except I didn’t know what to really expect from school, from people or really even from myself. I talked with a good friend one day about how she really was able to be so carefree about things. She responded with a simple thought: “I’ve come to only expect what I know people can give me and nothing more.” I’ve pondered on this idea for quite sometime and now being back in Vegas, back around all the things that used to stress me out, I’ve been putting that advice to good use and amazingly things have been surpassing those expectations each day.
You see when you start to drop your expectations it allows you to relax, it allows room in your life for good things to happen, and it allows people to just be them and not feel forced to be something they are not.
I spent so much time trying to reach these high expectations and to hold people to high expectations that I missed out on just being able to sit back and live life with people. I let myself be stressed out all the time trying to keep people in these pretty boxes I wrapped up and put them in, that I missed out on seeing people for who they truly were, and I missed out on seeing who I truly was through it all. I crucified myself when things went wrong, taking the blame for not being able to be more than i truly was because people weren’t being who I wanted them to be. Looking on it now, I would have been perfectly happy with my life had I stopped trying to be the best, better than everyone already thought I was…
So my challenge for everyone this winter break and holiday season going into the time of making New Year Resolutions… drop the expectations and take time to just truly see the world and people around you. Don’t expect the holidays to be perfect, and laugh when things go not as planned. See the people around you for who they are and enjoy that person to the fullest. And most importantly… cut yourself a break. You are amazing. Take care of you, how you are now and drop the high unrealistic expectations you place on yourself each and every day and just bask in your awesomeness. That’s what makes the world brighter, and that’s what has made my trip to Las Vegas such an amazing experience thus far. So you, yes you, go and relax into 2017 and see what happens, you won’t regret it.
Enjoy this holiday weekend, and look for another blog come our regular posting day this Sunday!
Until Next Time,