I never really realized how much I let expectations drive my life.
First, there were the expectations of how one should behave. Not that this is a bad thing, but if you're not careful you can be overwhelmed with trying to please others and stressing out if you think you don't meet other people's expectations. I spent a large portion of my life doing just this and never quite came up to the mark and was always sick due to stress.
Second, there are the expectations we set our hopes on and if it doesn't happen just like we think it should we are severely disappointed. I have a good example for this. In 2002 we were going to Chicago to our daughter's boot camp graduation. I was excited to go see her after 8 weeks of training and I was excited to go to Chicago because I had never been there and my mom always talked about her trips there as a child. So I had this big list of things I wanted to do, places to go, sites to see. In my mind this was going to be so fun. But it didn't work out that way. I won't give you all the gory details but I felt like crying all the way home because nothing had lived up to my expectations. And this was mostly my fault. I should have expected less and then the disappointment would have been easier to deal with.
I have always been a pretty optimistic person but sometimes that can really affect the way that I see life. It affects what I expect to get out of life, and it affects what I expect from my life. And the last few years have been incredibly disappointing. My expectations have controlled my emotions and how I see my life. I am 52 years old and haven't done hardly any of the things I wanted to do with my life. I haven't traveled. I haven't accomplished things I would like to. But the worst thing is that I let my disappointment about this get in the way of the life that I do have. It's so very easy to wallow in your grief over the life not lived and totally miss the life that is here, right now.
So that is why chose the word EXPECT as my word of the year.