Expectations are ruining my life! It’s time to let them go entirely. As a kid, I watched “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father knows best” and somehow thought my family should look like that. My expectations were dashed. Of course, as a teenager I began to see the misogyny of it, rejecting the premise outright. I had my first boyfriend and expected it to last forever. The motivation of being with him was to get out of my house, which it achieved, but it wasn’t enough to produce longevity. The next longterm relationship’s motivation was convenience and once I started having children, I expected it to last. I also started expecting completely different behavior than he had previously
exhibited. I expected my own behavior to be different, as well. I
lived in a commune that I expected
to be idyllic. I was gardening and making my own and my children’s clothes by hand. I expected to have a partnership. Instead, there were 4 men and me and they all went on wood runs together and expected me to do all the cooking and cleaning alone. All our expectations were dashed. I expected that the father of my two children would want to get a job and start supporting us in a bigger way, but no. He expected me to want very little and be satisfied with our lives staying the same. Well, no to that as well. I expected the hippy life to be all about love and kindness and equality and living off the land. It was supposed to be everything opposite of the rest of the world. No war or fighting of any kind. We would all work together for the good of everyone else. I learned that people are still people. We made a new society that was not really any better and in some ways, was worse. I left. I expected it to be easier to live in the city. I soon found out that knowing how to dye wool with plants and tan my own hides were not marketable skills and I’d have to come up with something else to support my family of now, three children. I cleaned houses and then museums with statues and art work that no one was supposed to touch, but I did. I learned to repair Native American artifacts. That was beyond any expectation of a job, I had ever imagined. I never expected to go to college. It was not a goal any of my siblings or I had been pushed toward. But, at age 38, I went back to school and got a degree. I did expect to finish and I did expect to obtain good grades, because I studied all the time. I worked hard at it. I never expected to be able to buy a house, but once I was making regular money, I found one of the last houses under $100,000, which I could afford. I went back to school and this time, refinanced the house to afford it. I had a great job that I loved and expected that I would do it for years. I was not going to be one of those that came out to the rural areas for a short time, and then moved on. I was rooted in the mountain community. But my daughter started having babies and I never expected to live far from my grandkids. I never expected to move back to my hometown. I did. I worked hard to get Obama in office and was so happy, crying at inauguration. Then, It was time for a woman to be president and I campaigned for Hillary. I never, never, never expected Trump to win. I did expect that our government might collapse. And then, I wanted to expect that Biden would win, but was unsure. I did not expect Trump to attempt to take over the government, despite the many signs he had given in that direction. I do expect the January 6th commission to show the truth and although I do not expect criminal charges to stick, I am so very hopeful that Donald Trump will be put behind bars and the white supremacist radicals will go back in their holes, not daring to let anyone see their hateful beliefs. I did not expect to retire, having started so late. But, here I am, retired at 65 with a pension. Definitely a twist and Beyond all expectations.
By Paul DeLong
On June 20, 2022
I expected it to be easier to live in the city. I soon found out that knowing how to dye wool with plants and tan my own hides were not marketable skills and I’d have to come up with something else to support my family of now, three children. I cleaned houses and then museums with statues and art work that no one was supposed to touch, but I did. I learned to repair Native American artifacts.
The adaptation and transition from making artful things, to taking care of art objects considered very valuable is admirable, and evokes how deftly the imagination could be employed, and sometimes necessity is the Mother of Invention! You created a strong reflection point there!
The subsequent personal and political detailing of expectations with the repetitive phrases “I did expect…” and “I do expect…” were effective in taking us to places that are both familiar, and unsettling. Thanks for this, it is easy to feel sympathy and connection, because of the way you have written!
By Barbara Bjeletich
On June 22, 2022
Thanks, Paul. It’s really great that you always comment on articles that Janis chooses to showcase. I look forward to your insightful and always complimentary comments.