I’m sure I’ve been disappointed more times than I can remember. For instance, when a meal I ordered didn’t taste as good as it looked on the menu, or when a one night stand left me wondering why I even bothered at all. Or, as I keep prattling on about, my disappointment at having to leave London.
There was also the time I expected my ex-boyfriend to get either a job or a degree before I would think about marrying him. That’s because I couldn’t bear the thought of marrying someone with no future work prospects nor any inclination to work for money. Nor any inclination to make a contribution towards the relationship for that matter. I guess you could say I expected my partner to be my equal and to contribute equally to the relationship. It seemed he expected that I would work and support both of us while he was sleeping-in and playing World of Warcraft all day.
The main theme with all these disappointments is that my expectations exceeded what happened in reality. But I’m focusing on my expectations of others. What about the expectations others have of me?
Well, where should I start?
I guess you could say that my life didn’t turn out as The Parents had expected. I understand that they worked hard and sacrificed a lot for themselves to provide for me and my Younger Sister. They worked long hours and saved money so we could attend Chinese school and weekend tutoring at a supposedly ‘prestige’ tutoring school. It was something I went along with earlier in my life, but by the time I got to my mid-to-late teens I realised I didn’t enjoy it and therefore didn’t get the most out of it. I couldn’t see the point and eventually worked up the nerve to tell The Parents I didn’t want to continue with any of it.
I’m sure they were disappointed. And probably still are. My grasp of the Chinese language is ridiculous at best. And my results for getting into Uni were poor (by “Asian standards”).
Now, Uni — there’s another disappointment from me to The Parents. They expected that I would choose a degree in finance, medicine, science or engineering. You know, something that their friends’ children were choosing. I think one chose law and another chose aeronautical engineering. I chose social work. Cue crickets chirping in the dead silence.
Mum actually sat me down and asked why I chose social work. I explained I just wanted to help people. She suggested that I choose nursing instead because I still get to help people (and it’s still classified as ‘medicine’, although she didn’t add that part I’m sure it’s what she was thinking). Too bad she doesn’t know they get paid a pittance here as well. Anyway, The Parents had great expectations of me and how I would turn out, but I’ve really disappointed them. For the record, they don’t hate me and we get along fine. It’s just that they were hoping I’d achieve what they expected.
I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I was oblivious to it at first, and was happy to go along with it. But it seemed the more I lived up to their expectations, the more they expected from me. Over time I became increasingly agitated and miserable, and the rest writes itself.
I’m fairly certain The Parents still have expectations of me in one way or another, and I do my best to look after them and not disappoint them. However, nowadays, I live my life for me. I follow my own expectations on the kind of life I’d like to live. I don’t always get there, but it’s easier to get back on my feet after the disappointment and keep working towards my own expectations rather than someone else’s.
Anyway, I’m pretty tired so my ramblings are incoherent. I expected to finish this post sooner, and I expected it to be better, but I guess that didn’t match with the reality of it. Oh well…
[I have written this post as part of this week’s weekly writing challenge.]