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2023: The Year of Expectations

Or rather, eliminating expectations.

Instead of the year of “expectation,” my word for 2023, it felt like the year of depression. I tried to focus on not having expectations this year to see if that saves me from disappointment. Believe it or not, it did help. However, getting rid of expectations does not get rid of all the trials and tribulations life has to offer, like getting kicked out of my apartment by squirrels.

I don’t think anyone can expect or predict that would happen, yet it did.

In the madness and the sadness, there were lessons I needed to learn this year, no matter how hard they were for me to accept.

Though I wanted to eliminate expectations, I realized early on there were areas of my life where I needed them. I knew moving somewhere new wouldn’t extinguish the past; I was prepared for that. However, I wasn’t prepared to wish I had expectations for my job at the design studio because considering how things went sideways in March this year, expectations were definitely necessary. I needed to have my own expectations of my career to tell my boss where I wanted to go in the industry, but I also needed her expectations of me so I could do my job correctly.

Early March showed me how lost I was. I didn’t regret moving away from Tennessee, but I started to question if North Carolina is where I needed to be. Honestly, that’s a question I still have; can I make it the next five years living in this state?

I spent all of the spring season in a haze; I can’t be around people who lack the understanding of how hard it is to come from nothing, especially in the crap show that is this economy. Fortunately, I worked with someone who could semi-relate, but that someone wasn’t my boss (no matter how much I wanted her to be).

Over the summer, I learned the big lesson of always being prepared for the worst. This thought passed through my brain: “Don’t expect to keep your job because you’re good at it, because you go above and beyond what you were asked to do and your boss doesn’t pay enough attention to see it. In the small business world, you can easily be fired because your personality isn’t compatible with your boss, neither are your interests, and it’s impossible for you to change into someone she’ll like, especially when you preach authenticity.”

Going through this showed me the importance of allowing family and friends to be there for you. Several people said I was brave for moving somewhere where I knew no one, and I felt like a failure because I got here and was lost. It’s crazy that I learned this lesson over the summer, yet I spent most of my Christmas break wanting to isolate myself; maybe it’s the guilt I feel for relying so heavily on them.

Reason number three thousand and one I need to go to therapy and have probably looked like I’m spaced out of every conversation.

I did not expect teaching to be the path I would go down, but here I am… for now. I, as well as a few other people, think this is a temporary thing until I figure out what exactly I want to do with my degree and the random bits of knowledge in my brain. For now, I will enjoy teaching students something I’m passionate about; teaching allows me to have the creativity and control I’ve always wanted while giving others around me the freedom they need to express themselves.

I’m not going to stress about what’s next for me after teaching; I’m going to keep moving forward without expectations and take advantage of whatever life throws at me.

Lastly, expectations or not, I can’t control God’s timing. This year strengthened our relationship in a way I never expected. Sometimes it takes some struggle to draw closer and to bring you back to earth. Plus, there tends to be a whole lot of good after a whole lot of bad.

Here’s hoping 2024 is that whole lot of good.

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