Expectations, goals, and life…

I wrote something this morning questioning “I see so many things that tell you to lose your expectations, yet just as many that tell you to believe in your dreams and have faith in outcomes… “. And I got great responses, yet still have so many questions. Some of the responses I got considered that when you have expectations, even if they are met, that often you will have bigger expectations, and then are never satisfied. And there is truth in that. And perhaps often that is problematic, but perhaps sometimes that is also a good thing.

Another response I got noted that in my question I cited the definitions of Expectation and Faith “Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” “Faith: Confidence, trust or belief”, which I shared in realizing that these all are tied to “belief”. And it was mentioned that even with dictionary definitions that there is room for interpretation – which is most certainly true. But certainly also, context is part of this.

It is different, clearly, if I expect that the world will be here tomorrow, vs expecting that someone will show up at my door and hand me a million dollars. In that, I think, is my need for clarity. Not in those obtuse examples, but perhaps in the more specific and personal ones. Certainly some things you should be able to “expect”, yet others are quite a stretch. In life, I think, some amount of “expectation” is a good and necessary thing. If you want to achieve anything in life, you have to have goals. If you have no belief (i.e. expectation) that you have the ability to achieve those goals, you may as well not try… But what goals are believable? Can you only set modest goals – or should you believe (i.e. expect) that you at least may have a chance to accomplish anything you set your mind to.

In my world – I am autistic. It is clearly not realistic to expect that I will ever be not autistic. It is not accurate to believe in any way that I can ever fully overcome the challenges that it presents me. Is it realistic then, to “expect” that I can function in a society I love, surrounded by people I love, and hope to be someone who adds to their lives instead of merely being a source of frustration? Certainly, I understand that my personality can be trying at times. I understand I may need more patience and understanding. But can I “expect” that the things that are good about me will counterbalance those things and make me someone people will enjoy having in their lives?

As a writer, I can (and do often) write for myself. But I also want to write for the world. I want what I write to make a difference in people’s lives. I want people to be moved by what I write. I want it to help them. Can I “expect” to be able to do that? Is that a valid wish, hope or dream? If I can’t believe that, then what use is there in sharing what I write? I have to have some ability to find a degree of certainty that what I write could touch someone, or else the whole exercise is one of futility – yes?

Even in the simplest of tasks, a degree of expectation is there. If I paint a wall, I want to expect that it will look better than it did before I painted it. If I cook dinner, will my husband like it? I have to be able to expect that he will. But where does that expectation become unrealistic? If I want to have a friend or two, yes? If I want to be the most popular person on the planet, clearly no? If I want my writing to touch one person, yes? If I hope to change the world, perhaps no? But do I only set my sights on wanting to touch one person? Or do I set my sights on changing the world, with the hope that I can, with the belief that it is possible that I will, but perhaps the tempered realization that I may not…

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