Experiencing the Exception
As I was watching the singlehandedly greatest “Woman’s Anthem” movie in the entire world, He’s Just Not That Into You, I witnessed Gigi learn the most crucial lesson of her young womanhood life… ….Maybe he’s just not that into you.
I really latched onto the whole “Expectations vs. the Rule” concept that she was concocting in that naive, innocent, and neurotic mind of hers (but who wasn’t let’s be honest). But I believe that I interpreted it in a way that was entirely different, and more complicated, than the simplicities that she was preaching.
I believe that the fundamental flaws in the way we live our lives come down to one thing: expectations. We all go down our own personal journeys with all of these ideas and predictions… whether they’re subconscious or highly acknowledged. By subconscious I mean… I expect to drink coffee tomorrow. I expect to talk to my mom. I expect to laugh. I subconsciously expect all of these things without ever considering them as actual and true expectations. And by “highly acknowledged” expectations I mean… well… everything else. The highly acknowledged expectations are the more thought-provoking, and prevalent expectations. For example: “We had fun. I’m sure he’ll call.” “Work should be really busy tonight.” “I hope my friend got me that shirt for my birthday.”
….What if he doesn’t call? What if work isn’t busy? What if there is no shirt?
We set ourselves up for disappointment. I’ve realized that we all embark on these amazing journeys in our lives with the mindset of, “That will never happen to me.” No one ever goes out at night thinking, “Oh I can’t wait to get sick later….” Yet… we get sick. And what, did we expect that drinking ten drinks would result in any other outcome? This type of scenario shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to any of us. We all do these things that we realistically know could end up badly, yet always come back to the same thought… “It won’t happen to me (aka the rule).” Sure we all “know someone” (aka the exception) who that crazy outcome happened to… but it’s never us. It’s never you.
Stay with me, I have a point… I swear.
I mean, I’m guilty too. I’m guilty for super-sizing a number one McDonald’s combo meal thinking, “Oh once won’t hurt.” I’ve gone into a tanning bed thinking, “Oh just a few times won’t give me skin cancer.” But why. Why as humans is it our nature to automatically assume that we’re the exception to these very well-known outcomes of things? If we really want to source out our troubles, I believe that identifying what expectations are falling short is not only the first, but possibly the only way, to find the self-achieving happiness that we all strive for.
Well. The thing that I never expected to happen to me… happened. During my senior year in high school, my father passed away of an entirely unexplained heart attack in his sleep.
It never occurred to me that my Dad wouldn’t see me accepted into college. I expected it. It never occurred to me that I would have to be concerned about who was walking me down the isle. I expected it. It never occurred to me that my mom being a stay-at-home mom for thirty years would ever be anything but an absolute blessing. I expected it. I’m by far not the first to lose a parent at a young age, and I am absolutely not the last. Sometimes, we’re just too into the moment to look at the big picture. We fail to see things in perspective because we’re too absorbed in what’s taking place at that very instance. But after everything happened, I grew up.
I found my moment that made me loosen my expectations. I found my moment that enabled me to look at the big picture all while enjoying the moment. And overall, I found my moment that made me realize that everything will be okay.
I’m not saying I’ve completely jumped bases and have life entirely figured out and live a perfect expectation-free life. But having this completely earth-shattering, life-changing, mind-altering experience has ultimately taught me that nothing is inevitable, and there are no “rules” (sorry Gigi). And here comes the “point” I promised was coming… take this life-altering lesson that I have learned during my own journey, and take it for yourself.
Above all else, I have a family who loves me, friends who I am proud of, and the genuine will and drive to always be the best version of myself. Like I said, my life isn’t perfect and I am the farthest thing away from having it all worked out… But I’m off to a pretty great start.
Thank you Chelsea and Millennial Miss for giving me this opportunity.
With love and aspiration,
"A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” -Hugh Sidey