I never expected to be here. When I was 18, I expected to graduate from college and become a psychologist. A couple years and a major change later, I expected to get a good job at someplace like Boeing in their human resources department. When I was 22, I expected my fiance to marry me and we'd raise the baby that was on the way together. The next year I woke up one morning expecting to make it to work safely. I expected to live in Michigan my whole life. And at 34, I expected my first book would attract somebody's interest. I definitely expected to be published by now.
Needless to say, I've had a lot of expectations in my life. Also needless to say, none of the above actually happened. In each instance, something derailed me and I had to adjust my expectations. In a lot of instances, I could've given up. (And in the case of college, I actually did give up - but I didn't realize it until later.) Instead I adjusted my expectations.
Recently, we had a setback. The daughter I raised, the one who's so damn smart I could weep for joy, the one who aced her ACT... She bombed her first year of college. After much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, we made the decision she won't be going back*.
And we all adjusted our expectations. She expected to graduate, move to Japan and get a job managing a software development company. Now she has to expect a lower paying job, not so nice a car, and a lot of hard work to get anywhere. Sure, she's bummed, but by adjusting her expectations, she can roll with this. She can put her head down, work hard, save some money and gain the maturity she needs to go back to college.
At least, that's the adjusted expectation. She hasn't given up on her goal of graduating from college. Whether she ever does isn't the point right now. The point is that she still has goals and expectations she's working toward.
I guess what I'm trying to say in my rambling, disjointed way is that things don't always work out the way you intend them to. Shit happens. You get derailed. And then you have a choice - you can adapt or you can quit.
This morning, I thought about quitting. I was standing on the porch smoking and the thought jumped into my head - totally unbidden and without any warning - that I should just quit writing. I haven't really gone anywhere with it. More and more often, I find something else to do rather than the work I know I should be putting in.
Maybe I need to adjust my own expectations and see what happens. Or perhaps I've just stopped having expectations about my work. Instead of expecting to finish this and send it out, I'm just floating through. I'll give setting up some expectations a try and see what happens. I expect things will improve.
And don't worry. I'm still not planning on quitting - no matter what messages my subconscious throws up at me while I'm enjoying a nice morning and a bit of nicotine.
*She wanted to go back this fall. We just couldn't see throwing another $10K at the
problem on the off chance that she grows a work ethic between now and