Hello all. I want to talk about expectations today. What do we expect out of life? Do we expect to be treated fairly? To be treated with respect? To be loved unconditionally? Expectations are fine, but as we grow older, we learn that life doesn’t always treat us fairly, whether or not we deserve it. We also learn that, in order to be respected, we must first respect others. And we learn that unconditional love is sometimes doled out sparingly under extremely specific conditions. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much relegated to the Holy Trinity and the family pet…in that order.
I celebrated my fifty-second birthday today. I had great expectations two years ago, on the big five-oh. I expected to be published by now…I’m not. I expected to be skinny…I’m not that, either. I expected to be better off financially than I was then, due to the success of my writing career. (Refer to aforementioned expectation about not being published.) Have I given up? Of course not. I’ll continue to write, whether I’m published or not, because I love it. I’ll continue to work out at the gym because, even if I never get down to my goal weight, I feel better by doing so.
I’m a lucky person. I know this, because two people I care about have recently experienced devastating losses in the past two weeks. My thirteen year old grandaughter, Cat, lost her father on October 4th. He was only thirty-five. At thirteen, poor Cat has to find a way to deal with the loss of a man who adored his little girl. How do you get over something like that? I wish I knew.
A week later, my sister, Shelley, lost her husband to his battle with cancer. I say battle in the truest sense of the word, because Carl was a fighter…a true warrior when it came to his illness. “It took four cancers to kill him.” My sisters words, not mine.
I look at my husband and think, how do you get over something like that? Again, I wish I knew, so I could pass on some words of wisdom to her.
As I said, I’m lucky, and I know it. My husband is here and relatively healthy. I’ve had one cancer scare, but I’m cancer free now and healthy. We are surrounded by children and grandchildren whom we both adore. We’re both working and we are privileged to live in the best country in the world, despite its less than desireable political leaders (in my humble opinion, anyway).
So, what do I expect from life? I expect the chance to work hard for the things I want, to enjoy my grandchildren, my children, my husband, my work, my friends, and my writing. I expect to learn from the experiences that life has doled out to me and my loved ones, whether good or bad.
What have I learned in fifty-two years? I’ve learned that it’s never too late to change your life for the better. It’s acceptable to stretch for that higher branch, reach for a happiness you’ve only dreamed of. Two things that are never a waste of time are a good education and love.
I expect to make the most of my life. I hope that when it’s my time to leave this earth, people will remember me as the type of woman who made the most of her opportunities. I hope that when I’m gone, people will smile when they remember me. If I can accomplish that, my life will have been a success.