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9.30.2011

shattering expectations.

And so it all began well before you were even born. Your dad was the star of his football team in high school, so the expectation is that you will be too. Your mom was a straight A student, so the expectation is that you will be too. Your grandfather earned a PhD, so the expectation is that you will be too. Your older sister started walking at 7 months old, so the expectation is that you will be too. Marathoners, triathletes, presidents, vocalists, and doctors run in your family, so you will undoubtedly be something great too, right?

And so we grow up with this shadow over our heads. We struggle to find where we fit in, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and what we're going to "be" in life. And when we're finally old enough to start making decisions ourselves, there will be that constant reminder from some that you aren't making the right choices. It's like picking which sport to play, what college to attend, what major to choose, or what career to pursue. Then it becomes about the people you date, where you live, which house you buy, or how many kids you have. No matter what you choose or what you accomplish there will always be a naysayer. Expectations are simply a reality. Everyone makes them, especially about the people they care about. Most of the time, it's only because they want you to do great things. The difference is that their idea of what greatness is may not be the same as yours. The most important thing you can do is surround yourself with people that will support you throughout your journey from childhood to adulthood and beyond. Find people that will push you to follow your dreams, pursue your goals, and shatter all expectations that were placed on you by people other than you.

Life is far too short to feel as though we have to live our lives for other people. We are all capable of reaching great heights, it just may not be in the same way others may have envisioned. Maybe you aren't going to be the star athlete your father once was, but maybe your love for the violin will push you to pursue a degree in music. Maybe your struggle in a traditional classroom was becoming too painful, so instead of pocketing straight A's, you may choose to become a very successful auto mechanic. Maybe instead of pursuing politics, you may choose to become an ongoing volunteer at a charitable organization instead. Maybe instead of settling down young and having 2.3 kids, you may choose to travel the world solo. 

The point is that we are all born into expectations, but no person should be made to feel like a failure if they don't reach them. The expectations that should be surpassed are the ones we set for ourselves. It's important to make your way through life by setting goals and considering what you want in the big picture; that is how you come to reach your own personal greatness. And at the end of the day, that's really all that should matter.

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