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I’ve been thinking a lot about life. About how far I’ve come from where I’ve been. A lot of people used to think I wasn’t going to be successful, that I was going to become my mother. I won’t go into details since that is not what the focus of this rambling is about. What I can say is that success to me looks like, having a job, not one I particularly like, but a job nonetheless. I have a wonderful little dog that has my heart, she makes me laugh when I’m sad and hogs all the blankets at night. I have terrific friends. Amazing, wildly funny, loyal and above all…loving and kind. No, the focus of this is not how I was thought to be going nowhere and would end up fading into the mold that so many had fashioned for me. The focus is life and expectations, or rather my life and my expectations.

I have found I have a lot of resilience. I had a teacher tell me that once and she wouldn’t explain to me what the word meant. She said that if I looked it up, I would better remember its meaning…and she was right. I always remembered what it meant. I’ve failed continuously throughout my life, but I also resisted the path that seemed easiest to take. I would like to take time to thank those people for not believing in me. Not for thinking less of me, but for giving me the drive to get up after I fell. The drive to be better. I wanted more and my heart gravitated towards that goal. It pulled me into the lives of people that poured life into me. Telling me, I was strong, I was valued and that I was loved. Most importantly, they told me I was more.

I was continually told that my life could inspire people. “Look at the battles you have faced and overcame…don’t you think that is worth talking about?” That is what I was told. I was and still am hesitant that my story could change anyone, but I am told that my heart is in the right place and that is all that matters.

Looking back on a journal entry, I found this ending, “When I am older I want to look back on my life and say, I lived, I did things and made memories. When I failed, I failed hard but when I succeeded…I flew.” I haven’t always met the expectations I have set on myself, but I would like to think that I have done pretty well despite the beginning I was given. One expectation was that I travel the world. When I was younger, I thought it sounded reasonable to drive to Africa…after some growing up and geography lessons, I soon realized that driving was not an option but there were other ways of getting there. I haven’t been to Africa yet, but I have traveled to many parts of Asia and Honduras. It’s a good start so I haven’t been too hard on myself. Another expectation was that I move away from my small hometown. I did that and then I moved back, only to move away for the last time. It was hard and I struggled. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. Eventually, it became easier and then all of the sudden…I was fine. Still struggling, but living. I remember looking around my first one bedroom apartment and thinking. I have finally made it. I failed, I succeeded and I flew. My last big expectation was to fall in love. To really fall…and I did. I fell in love with an amazing woman. We loved with a depth far beyond any distance measured. She is vivacious, intelligent, and extremely loving. My life is better for knowing her and from being loved by her.

I guess in the end, I believe life is about loving without boundaries and sometimes getting your heart broken. It’s about falling in love with whoever you want and being happy. It’s about memories you don’t remember until a song or a smell triggers that moment and you remember exactly where you were and how you felt. It’s about hoping for things that seem way beyond your horizon and then fighting to get there because it’s worth it for you. Your expectations for your life will, I believe, determine your happiness. To sum it all up, be patient, be hopeful, be understanding and be loving. Hold your expectations next to your dreams and never stop gravitating toward what pulls on your heart.