Expectation and Reality
I had lots of plans for the time of life in which I’m currently living in.
I planned to have this blog up and running much earlier than now. I planned to do yoga every weekday after work. I planned to wake up with my alarm and eat breakfast on the balcony with the sunrise. I planned to have a bundle of friends here in Nashville and a job that matched my lifelong plan. I planned to be a better friend, better responder to texts. I planned to be long over struggles of the past- social media comparison and painful relationship wounds.
Yet, here I am.
I'm finally, after months of procrastinating, sharing this blog with the public. My yoga mat is rolled up in the corner of the bedroom as it has been for weeks. My alarm clock has been set back 5 minutes later each week and my breakfast is typically a poorly brewed cup of coffee in the car as I rush off to work. I’m still meaning to say hello to the neighbor with the cute dog that I pass everyday. I'm not working that dream graphic design job. I haven’t designed anything in a month to be honest. Instagram is open on my phone much more than I know it should be and I can feel the negative thoughts arise as I scroll through the perfect images on my feed. My mind still thinks about those relationships that hurt- even if they’re far away and have no bearing on my life now. But still.
After talking to multiple friends in similar seasons, I know I’m not alone. The transition into a responsible, thriving adulthood is awkward. Expectation v. reality is usually rough no matter how hard it hits you. In the past, being the all-or-nothing type of gal I am, when my reality hasn't matched my expectation, I’ve wanted to give up. I have given up. On projects, goals, relationships, dreams. Things I was once passionate about so quickly thrown to the wayside because things got hard and I was too afraid to fail by waiting for what could be beyond the hard work. So instead, I get stuck.
At the end of the day, I don't want (or need) absolute perfection, I just want to be healthy. I want to move at a slower pace and enjoy the little moments. I want my friends and family members to feel appreciated and thought of. I want an enriching community around myself. I want to pursue my dreams and use my creative outlets. I want healthy thoughts, freedom from comparison, peace of mind, and healing. This might seem like a lot to want, but why wouldn’t I want these things? I think we all want these things.
You’ve heard the quote by Thomas Jefferson that says,
“If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.”
I’m not saying I’ve never had these things- the health, the community, the creativity, the peace. They all exist in evident ways in my life. I’m just saying that as I grow as a person-set bigger goals and experience bigger setbacks, pursue bigger dreams and find myself in harder circumstances than I ever have, that I have to put in the work. I can’t rule out my ability to make it to the other side so soon. I have to keep trying.
The soothing mantra for the new college grad seems to be "one foot in front of the other.” There’s no pressure to figure everything out so quick. So far I’ve applied this logic to monumental life events such as paying off all my student debt, buying a home, and traveling the world. But I think now I need to apply this to the little things too- the things I thought would come a little bit easier, but simply have not. I want to keep trying, not with a motive of guilt for disappointing myself or the need to see an end goal, but because I desire to live life bravely rather than be driven by fear to quit. Don’t we all wish to be brave? And sometimes the bravest thing I can do is work out when I already feel exhausted or turn off my phone for the evening so that I can enjoy time with my husband presently. Sometimes the bravest thing I can do is tell my neighbor she has a cute dog and ask her about her day. Sometimes the bravest thing I can do is put a letter in the mailbox or pray that God would mend some of these hurts that still exist. Sometimes the bravest thing I can do is set my alarm five minutes earlier again. Little by little.
Sometimes the bravest thing I can do is put one foot in front of the other. Do that thing I’ve never done. Experience the thing I’ve never experienced. That’s my plan now.