Sunday, March 2, 2014

We live a life full of expectations.

Perhaps, that is why the mail is still delivered during a thunderstorm, because we anticipate its arrival in "rain or shine, snow or sleet." When we no longer view these expectations as perks, but rather define others in terms of our quotas, we tread a fine line between customer and self-righteous asshole.

The difference is leaving a Nestles hot chocolate packet inside your mailbox, and leaving your walkway under two feet of snow (complaining when your Sports Illustrated arrives 2 hours late and damp).

Recently, my great-uncle died of cancer and other age induced medical complications. I called my great-aunt the next day, offering my condolences, but we mostly just talked about college. She's a cancer survivor herself, a farmer, a world traveler and an award winning pie baker.

After about fifteen minutes she excused herself so she could rest, and thanked me for the condolences and for the 'normal conversation.' Within two minutes my phone started buzzing: a picture of my sister's face filled the screen. She wanted to know if I had already called our great-aunt, I said yes, and she let out a great sigh.

 Unfortunately my family is no stranger to death, with the remnants of its diseased trauma still visible in my sister. For those unspoken traumas, I cannot hold it against my sister for procrastinating calling my great-aunt--I expected as much. At the same time, my sister knows first hand the comforting strength of a tender voice. How could she not extend her sympathies toward my great-aunt?

What's important to realize is that whether or not you like it, people will do what they want. Your expectations may be justified, but in the end they only serve to hurt you.

I can't expect my brother to call on my birthday. I can't resist helping my friend as she vomits after a night of partying, because "I expected more from her." I can't expect myself to be a swimsuit model with the IQ of Ken Jennings.

All I can do is love my brother when he calls on a random Tuesday, tuck my friend into bed with a filled water bottle by her bedside, and reward myself for that hour at the gym and 96% in geology.

Be Pip without the Great Expectations

Please note:  I have always looked upon my sister as a child looks upon a rainbow, with an air of wonder and majestic beauty. The colors of my strength pale in comparison.

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