I keep wondering sometimes if I'm repeating myself or if I keep repackaging the same themes in this environment. I guess I find myself thinking a lot on the same topics. My last three posts strike me as tying in to each other thematically, and linking to this one.
Back in December, I covered the whole realm of dreams, followed by my New Year's resolution shpiel which, of course, I have failed to live up to. Sob sob. And then there was my last post, which dealt with the concept of judgement by others and judging others being necessary elements to living what I will smugly call a moral life.
All of these tie into today's theme: expectations.
Dreams are one thing, we never really expect them to come true. Obviously not the case with expectations. Y'know, because it's in the damn word!
Yet another frustration that has become part of the social fabric of normalcy (as I perceive it) is the backlash against the slacker movement that has led to what I will call an environment of massive pressure on one's self to live up to a series of expectations based both on self-delusion and perception of peers. And in the digital age of over-the-top self-promotion, I think that expectation focuses on a kind of homegrown fame.
Just about everyone I can think of wants to be known. Gone are the days of being happily lost in the crowd, standing out has become de rigueur. And I find myself feeling the pressure of that expectation. So much so that I created not one, but two blogs. And as much as I prevaricate to say that I created these as writing practice when bored at work (which is still true), in the end, the truth is that I started writing Nick Likes To Write Stuff and Dude, Cook! as a way of getting noticed by foodies and philosophers.
Too bad I don't seem to be striking the right chords (no one's calling me to write a cookbook). And even more frustrating is the knowledge that certain people who are shilling an image of themselves that isn't quite honest, because it's all they have going for them, are succeeding at it better than truthful lil' ol' me. Oh well...
But this takes me back to the concept of expectation. I'm not talking about parental pressures, because I'd hope anyone with a sense of self-determination would have learned to tell their parents' pressures to suck it, but rather I'm looking at the cultural environment of expectation in which many of us, I think, find ourselves wrapped up.
Perhaps it's because I'm surrounded by artists, musicians, dancers and event organizers that I get this sense of not measuring up. But I feel it no matter what. I feel like I'm not making my mark on the world.
Which leads to the inner monologue to pipe up with "Since when are you supposed to leave a mark?"
And really, since when are we? Isn't the only expectation we need to place on ourselves to be happy in our own skin and to do as little harm as possible to our fellow humans? But wait, freeze. That can't be it, that's too... lazy?
So, maybe there are expectations we need to place on ourselves. But they aren't the standard "get a good job, get noticed in your field, meet Mr./Ms. Right, change the world" expectations. Maybe, just maybe, we all could benefit from placing this one expectation on ourselves and on others: "be as good to each other as you can!" With that strategy, disappointment only comes to assholes.
March 26 2011
A red heart lain bare, raw and passionate is stronger than steel. In its fragility, it can be shattered, but in its capacity for love, it transcends pain.
In peace, all that which has come before, every failure, every misstep, every unfulfilled ambition can come together into a great tapestry of joy at the living involved in not achieving.
If everything we did succeeded, would life not become as boring as asphalt?
Wear your screw-ups like armour, like a bangle, like a medal. The attempt shines brightly too.