I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the expectations other people have of us and how they show up in big and little ways. These well-intended folks tend to fall into groups like “family,” “close friends,” “people from your past,” “work peers,” “hobby friends” and more.
For me, it’s easy to see the expectations from the “past” group as they knew me at a certain time of my life and have developed a certain sense of who I am or should be given the trajectory they've predicted. Like nearly all of these “buckets” of people, their expectations are based on their experience with me in those moments.
Close friends and family get trickier. On one hand, we know they want the best for us, yet that definition of “best” will always be colored by their opinion and knowledge of what that should be. For instance, my dad always wanted me to have a real job with a big company so that I would have benefits and stability. This is wholly logical as he wanted me to be safe and secure. And yet, I always seemed to gravitate to the road less traveled, the one that often needed a machete to navigate.
On the other hand, we always expect those closest to us to “get it” just because they know us so well. We expect their help and support even when we choose a path they know nothing about, and we are surprised when they don’t give us what we need. Yet, how could they help if they don’t have the experience or knowledge?
I think in the last couple years I have broken most people’s expectations of what my life would - and should - be like at this point. Staring down 50 my life is the least stable it’s ever been as I work to launch a new venture and rebuild my life with a different set of blocks.
Have I failed my dad by not choosing well paved? Nope. He would be texting “SMH” often no doubt as it relates to me, but he knew easy wasn’t my thing.
Most importantly I’m reminded to meet people where they are at this moment - for who they are in the present. Allow for them to have changed, evolved and grown - after all, isn’t that what we all want?