Saturday, January 3, 2015

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Bet that title gave my mom a little jolt.

Don't worry, Mom.  I'm not about to spring a surprise on you.  You know, like I did before.

As far as expectations go...I've spent most of my life expecting something.  And I've come to realize that that's not always a good thing.

I expected 2007 to be pretty good...only to have the most God-awful year possible when Brad died that summer.  2008 rolled in and I expected things to improve, but when I look back on it...I really don't think they did.  At the beginning of every year, I had a clear picture - and some pretty big expectations - of how the next 365 days were going to go.

I expected 2014 to be a life-changing year and it was, but certainly not in the way I was anticipating.  I am a completely different person and not because of all of the things I was expecting to accomplish...but because of all of the obstacles I had to overcome.  Which I guess in a way is its own accomplishment.

I'm still here, after all.

My therapist has been encouraging me to start keeping a journal, something that I used to always do, but I've been a little lax on in the last few years.  Brad used to to tell me the only time I really journaled was when I was mad at him and since my anger with him abated around 2009 (two years after he died), I haven't really written much since then.

But I'm working on it.  I've really tried to make it a habit these last couple of weeks every night before I go to bed.  But here's the problem.

I haven't really had anything to write.

I'm not saying that because I don't have a life or I don't have news about the kids that I could document.  But I think that most of what I used to write about in years past were mostly things I was anticipating (and worrying about).  And, to be honest, right now I'm really not expecting anything.

That may sound depressing, but it's really not.  I feel like this is the first year that I'm truly not expecting anything and I'm just waiting for things to come my way.  That doesn't mean I won't work on goals that I have just means I really have no expectations as to the outcome.  And that's actually pretty liberating.

I feel like the year before me is a blank canvas.  And I like it.

So, my answer to what to expect when you're expecting is...expect things to not turn out how you expected them to at all.  When you're worried about something in the future, it could turn out to completely defy your expectations.  When you're anticipating that your life will change, it just might...but maybe not the way you think it will (but maybe in ways that it's supposed to).

The bottom line is that expecting things from the future is kind of a waste of time.  And having fewer expectations has actually given me less to worry about and more time to just be.  I feel like sometimes expectations can mask what's right in front of you in the moment.

And I'm tired of missing the unexpected.


  1. If you go hiking try writing about your experience and sensory observations. Maybe combining some drawing or sketching with your observations. Maybe that might get you jump started back into your journaling

    1. I love that idea! And what a great exercise in staying in the present!

  2. I have been a widow since 2011! It is very hard to know what to expect, when all of your expectations/anticipations are turned upside down when your husband passes away! During these past 4 years I have had so many different emotions! I have found my own voice, made my own decisions for me and my family, become more confident and also still lost at the same time! I believe it just takes time to figure out this new version of how we are suppose to live our lives! You are right when you said, we have a blank canvas this year! Joe will always be with me, I am excited about 2015 and I too am going to live in the present! Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you as well! We'll work on it together. :)

  3. Your post hit home with me Catherine. I'm a planner, as most people are, and had my life all neatly sewn up, or so I thought. It was as close to ideal as I could have imagined until our 911 hit in 2008. Initially I couldn't wait to find my 2.0 version and have it all tied up again. I was almost panicked as I went on date after date trying to find the best candidate so I could get that checked off the list and get on with my life. What an eye opener! I've now realized it's better to be in charge of my own life rather than turning it all over to someone else. It's taken many hours of therapy to help me find out who I am without him. I now realize that the only thing you can count on in life is change. Thank you for making us all feel a bit less crazy and alone. :)

    1. You and I are very much in the same place. Life hasn't turned out the way we wanted to and even after the death of our STILL isn't living up to our (probably much lower) expectations. I'm with you. I'm enjoying the process of finding out who I am. Well, most of the time. :)

    2. This could be ME. This is exactly what I wanted. To get my 2.0 life going asap, trying to date too early, giving up and realizing that i have to be in charge of myself and figure out who I am. Sigh.