I think it’s fair to say that this year has thrown all expectations out the window. Everything I thought, hoped for, planned, is laying on the side of the freeway somewhere, miles behind me.
But that’s how it always goes, doesn’t it?
As a child, I had these lofty ideas of what it would be like to be an adult. Making my own decisions. Knowing the answers to all the important questions. Being happy all the time. I couldn’t wait to grow up.
Now I look back and wish I hadn’t been in such a rush.
I hate making decisions now. Figuring out what’s for dinner 365 nights a year? Tedious at best. Deciding whether to use a chunk of our savings for home renovations or keep it for an emergency? Anxiety-inducing. Making parenting choices, both big and small? Paralyzing. I can barely even pick out an outfit in the morning without getting a tension headache (and by outfit, I simply mean which shirt to pair with black leggings).
I could never have imagined what a global pandemic would be like, but I can confidently say if I had, it wouldn’t be like this. Arguments over masks and case numbers, businesses closing and opening and closing again, being told how many people I can have in my own house, my kids being out of the classroom for eight-plus months… it all makes me want to throw an epic, toddler-style, falling-on-the-ground tantrum.
But, I’m an adult, and the expectations are that I will behave like one. So I will, even if it is begrudgingly.
When it comes to expectations for my novel…I definitely expected to be done by now. To be researching agents, sending out query letters, trying not to get nauseated every time I checked my in-box. But alas, life has gotten in the way. And okay, maybe I’ve gotten in my own way, too.
I may be busier these days between logging my kids into Zoom classes, teaching them how to read, figuring out how the heck to do Common Core math, and uploading photos of all their assignments. But do I have to spend time binge-watching shows (I’m looking at you Dead to Me and Younger)? Do I have to read three books a month? Do I have to scroll through social media multiple times a day? No, no, and no. Do those things help keep me sane though? Yes. So I won’t give them up. Not completely.
What I will do is adjust my expectations.
One way or another, this pandemic will come to an end.
My children will go back to school, whether it’s this year, or next, or gulp, the year after.
My book may or may not get published one day, but I will finish it.
I may not have all the answers or even just know what to cook for dinner, but I expect that everything will be okay anyway.