Ready for no expectations

Idealistic is a word I’d use to describe myself. As would the various articles on INFJ personality types.

It has its ups and downs.

The downs: I expected a lot out of my twenties. A. Lot. There are childhood conversations, week’s at camp, and sleepover stories where I plotted out my twenties with friends. At ten, twenty seemed a long way off. I thought then, as children often do, that my twenties would be the best days of my life.

I know. I still have two years left. Two years to see if childhood expectations come true.

And then. I’ll be done. Expecting anything. I’ll be ready for my thirties.

I have zero expectations. I’m looking forward to it.

My twenties have been filled with more growing pains than my youth. High school was less angst ridden. Believe me, my teen years were a breeze. I always thought my twenties would be like the movies. A couple hardships and then – bam – easy.

That was idealistic.

I suppose I’ll look back on my twenties with a mix of emotions. There was the whole cancer thing with my mom. The stroke episode with my dad. Not typical life events for twenty-somethings to experience, but not atypical either.

In my early twenties, I tried to plan out my thirties. Recently, I came across a project I did in college. An in-class assignment where we drew out a path for our lives. Where we saw ourselves in five years, ten years, twenty years. Something along those lines. I unfolded the paper, recognizing my hurried hand writing, and noticed how many things have not happened. Not that I expected that single piece of paper to dictate my life. Although in a way I thought I’d be further along by now. Further along in what? I’m not sure.

But that was then. This is now. Now, I am no longer planning for the future. I mean, I still plan ahead. I make grocery lists and Target lists. I write to-do lists for weekly chores. I’m just not creating long lists or diagrams of where I’ll be and what I’ll do in my thirties.

If I’ve learned anything at all in my twenties, it’s that you can’t plan ahead. No matter how hard you try.

Maybe that’s the point of my twenties. To teach me that singular lesson.

The decade that has been my twenties, is marked with losses. I lost three grandparents in my twenties. I said goodbye to a college professor and a friend’s dad. Yet, my twenties have also found me celebrating the union of many couples and welcoming babies galore to the world. In this decade, I have seen what I can do and tested what I can’t do. I’ve made friends with people I never thought I would ever even meet. Traveled to places I never knew I wanted to visit. Discovered hobbies I thought I hated.

I’m just not where I always planned I’d be. At twenty-eight, I thought I’d have more things figured out. I assumed I’d be more “normal,” if there is such a thing.

I definitely surprise people when they discover what I have and haven’t done in my twenties, never quite meeting their expectations of me. Sometimes that’s refreshing, for them and for me. Other times it’s frightening, for them and definitely for me.

It always makes me feel as though I took a wrong turn somewhere in my twenties.

That way of thinking is one I’m learning to let go of in my late twenties. A harmful mindset that could easily destroy me from the inside out.

Regardless of what I have or haven’t done in my twenties, I can’t approach the next decade with the same mentality I did my twenties.

Unhealthy and slightly psychotic are the words I’d use to label my skewed thoughts.

I can’t plan for my thirties. I can’t predict what I’ll do or not do in my thirties. I have an idea of where I want to go, who I want to be, and what I want to do, but that’s it. Just an idea. Not a list. Not an infograph. Not a Pinterest board.

While I am not willing to wait out the next two years in complete idleness, I am also not willing to plan the last two years of my twenties down to every second. I’m where I am for a reason. A season, albeit an entire decade.

The only thing I know for certain about my thirties, I have no expectations.


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