Great Expectations


I dislike the idea of expectation. To expect something suggests a sense of entitlement and this can often lead to disappointment.

In the last thirteen years there have been only two things that have remained unchanged and constant in my life: my bank details, and my little cat. Everything else is different. My family, my friends, the place that I live are different. Indeed, I am different.

As I was growing up I had a simple, if somewhat naive plan. I was going to go to university, become a session musician, get rich, get married, buy a house, have children and live happily ever after. I did everything that was expected from me, in what could have been deemed to be a socially acceptable order. I didn’t make waves or cause problems. I was a good girl.

What I discovered is that even the best laid plans do not always come to fruition. At the age of 32 I find myself working as a music teacher. I live in the UK’s second biggest city with my long-term, long-suffering partner and our three cats in a rented property, and I’ve moved house six times in ten years. I have no savings (thanks to astronomical vets bills over the last year) and I’m not rich. My parents are divorced and I haven’t seen or spoken to my father in twelve years.

I realised that I wasn’t cut out to be a professional musician – the competition for performing roles was too high, and if I am being brutally honest I was devastated because I simply knew that the profession wasn’t the right one for me. My expectations of what my life was going to be were dashed, and I was left feeling disappointed and lost. However, hard work, a little bit of luck and being in the right place at the right time gained me a teaching role, and it was through this that I met my partner.

No, my life isn’t what I expected it to be. It’s far better.

I work in a profession that I enjoy, where I get good results and have a great relationship with the students. My mother is my closest friend and a constant source of support. I have fantastic friendships with genuine people and a relationship with a man who has supported me throughout it all. I am not financially rich, but I don’t want for anything. I’ve eaten good food, drank good cocktails and listened to fabulous bands in concert. I have been able to travel a little and see places and things that I could only have dreamed of when I was creating my life plan all those years ago.Β While the trials and tribulations have been tough, the journey has been exciting, I have worked hard and I love the idea of not knowing what is going to happen next.

I have few expectations from life, and make no apologies for this. Of course, I have dreams and little goals that I set myself, but I can only expect from life what I am willing to put into it. Always hope, always work hard, but never expect.

47 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. Very true about expectations! I think life is more fun (although hard at times!) remaining humble and faithfully knowing that everything will turn out okay in the end. =) I love my cats, too! They make life even better! lol

  2. This is a beautiful post

    I am quickly realising that expectations are sometimes short of reality! But I guess the person who said life is a gamble must have had somewhat of an easy life

  3. The only thing you should expect is for life to be unpredictable despite our best laid plans. Like you I’ve found that some of the best things in life weren’t in our plans. I love this post. When we’re young we think we have it figured out and the adults that we didn’t listen to actually knew what they were talking about when they encouraged us to plan for the unexpected. Guess what? Ten years from now you’ll look back and think that 32 year old you was naive and knew nothing.

  4. I feel like a lot of people become depressed because they set specific goals that are largely out of their control. Wanting to be married by a specific age or have a specific job by a specific age are all events that require more than just yourself. At least one other person has to be there with you and agree with you about the right time. I used to think I would get married by a specific age, but now that I’m in a long term relationship, I don’t have a specific age. The goal of marriage will happen when it’s meant to happen. Life is too stressful if you burden yourself thinking you haven’t hit the right milestones yet.

  5. Good article! I have come to realize that it is these “expectations” that we create in life that can lead us down the road of suffering within ourselves. Creating depression and anxiety within us. When we allow ourselves to realize the impermanence of the universe and that somethings are out of our control. We can regain ourselves and find peace within the storms or life.

  6. Excellent blog! Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Accepting the changes can be the way to enjoy the ride.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post. I have been thinking hard for the past couple of weeks why I haven’t achieved my expectations that I set for myself when I was a teen. For the past couple of months I have gone hard core in pursuit of achieving my goals and have been blind to see that I have made new expectations due to good changes that have happen in my life. I need to accept my new dreams and start embracing my new expectations. Your post made me stop and think. Thanks!

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  9. Beautiful, and well written. I love your perspective and I feel it resonates with me in many ways, especially that last line.
    Thank you. I’m glad I came across your blog.
    (via The Daily Post theme).

  10. I enjoyed reading this positive post! May I ask what instruments you specialise in? I play a bit of cello and piano myself. I’ve often fancied the idea of being a music teacher. I have fond memories of music teachers I’ve had over the years. It also sounds like you enjoy your job, which is so refreshing to hear! Looking forward to reading more from you πŸ™‚

  11. Sometimes the best things to ever happen to us are against our expectations. I agree completely with you. The best things to ever happen to me have happened when I wasn’t expecting them.

  12. Thanks for the thoughtful and honest piece πŸ™‚ Apparently William James said that you could express happiness as an “equation”: achievement over expectations! Most people seem to go for higher and higher achievement, but there is real wisdom in looking at our expectations. Thanks again.

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  14. It’s truly awesome when you can honestly say that your life isn’t what you planned or expected, but that it’s even better!

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  16. Awesome
    It is so refreshing to read a post like this when everyone(including myself) is writing about disappointment.
    It is great you are content with what you have, I need to take lessons from you piece.

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  18. Personally, my life is fantastic.
    As a writer, though, I’m a complete washout so I have no expectations in that regard.

    Magnificent post, Suzie.

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