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Let Go of Your Expectations and Embrace the Unexpected

I had a fascinating dream last night. I was back at a week-long retreat that I took last year, but it was different (like dreams generally are). I was doing everything "right," but I felt sad and unfulfilled. I was making sure everyone was taken care of, and I was cheering everyone on while privately, I wished my experience was theirs. This dream left me pensive as I awoke with a calm yet unsettled feeling.

This dream and feeling lingered with me for much of the morning, and I flashed back to my childhood. I remember desperately wishing that for 24 hours, I could be someone else. There was one particular girl that I desired I could be because from the outside, it appeared she had it all. I wanted to know what it felt like to be popular, intelligent, beautiful, thin, and athletic…all of the things I believed I lacked.

As I marinated on my dream and my childhood memory, I realized that at the core, I held a level of expectations that left me feeling less than and unfulfilled. As soon as this came to me, additional memories and examples came flooding back. Living with expectations about everything is a pattern I lived my whole life, and it has sucked the joy and happiness from me. Because of these expectations, I still wasn't enough, no matter how accomplished, fit, or attractive I became.

These beliefs were formed by interactions with my family, friends, society, books, television shows, inner desires, etc. I internalized the expectations of others and made them my north star. I believed that this was how I became worthy, loveable, and enough. I missed all of these years ago because I was perfectly me and loveable just as I was. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have thrown away that list of expectations and taken a deep breath. I would have wrapped my arms around the unexpected moments and experiences and treasured them instead of avoiding them.

It is the unexpected moments where I find so much of my joy. The unplanned writing session on the back porch with the smell of summer air, flowers, and coffee starts my day with delight. My youngest waking me up at 6 am with coffee in bed, her face beaming with pride because she did it all by herself. The impromptu trip to the swimming pool on a hot afternoon, chatting with neighbors and friends for hours while the kids laugh and swim with their friends. The unforeseen text from a dear friend that I haven't spoken to in years which rekindles a friendship. The morning sky filled with hot air balloons dotting the sky with vibrant colors. It is all of these things and so many more that bring joy and happiness to my life.

Messages to my Daughters: You are perfectly you and are so loved just as you are. Soak up the unexpected all around you because that is the nectar of life. Let go of the expectations that hold you back or suck the fun and enjoyment of life from your vessel. There is incredible wonder, love, and happiness in this lifetime. Wrap your arms around it and embrace it!

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