Original Post: 20/05/2012
When life becomes unpredictable; do you expect change or change your expectations?
The last four months of my life have been challenging; everything has changed, and then changed again. All the expectations that I had for the move, all the hopes that I had for the future changed. Maybe I had my head in the clouds, dreamed to extreme and never gave myself a reality check. Even though I expected change, life forced me to change my expectations.
Changing schools for the first time, having to make new friends and having to start building a new name for myself on the netball court, took a bigger toll on me than I expected change would. At heart I’m a shy person so having to make new friends chilled me to the bone. It still does. I came across very unapproachable, probably stuck up, but honestly, I was dying inside. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to be able to trust anyone, I didn’t want to open up to anyone. I didn’t want to be happy here. Why? Because after a few days; I was forced to change my expectations.
I moved with the expectation that everything that my family had built up over the past 12 years in New Zealand we would just find comfortably on the other side. I expected that I would be welcomed into my new school like we used to welcome new kids at my old school and that I would succeed further on my past victories. Basically, I thought that I would just be able to continue with my old life once I moved. Yes, I expected that there would be change but not on too large a scale. But, like I mentioned before, it only took a few days for reality to kick in. I realised that my expectation of just continuing with my over-easy life would have to change. I wasn’t in the same community, not even the same island, so I couldn’t expect to live the same life. Expecting the change in my life was easy, because it was a cliché expectation. But having to change my expectation on what to expect was tough.
I said earlier that I didn’t want to be happy here and sadly that is true. I was frozen with shock when I realised what the word change means – nothing, or barely anything, stays the same – and I was nervous that what I would find would not suit me. I was comfortable where I was and I wasn’t in the mood for discomfort, having to fit into a new mould so I sub-consciously made up my mind to not be happy. I didn’t realise it until recently, that I was choosing not to be happy. I knew that I was miserable, that I wasn’t settled and that change was getting the better of me and that I desperately didn’t want to be miserable but I never realised that I was doing it to myself. I missed my old life, my friends and my future that I had built for myself at netball and was intimidated by my new environment, scared by the very different type of person that I was encountering and disheartened by having to start all over again but I let that steal my happiness from me.
I wouldn’t say that I am totally settled yet, I am still getting to know how this community works, how the people live life and everyday I am having to pioneer my future all over again but I have to admit, with changed expectations and a new outlook on how I am going to do things, life has gotten much better. I am now relating to those around me with more ease, I hope that I am seen as more approachable and am seeing all my previous struggles as challenges – but the type of challenge that is looked at positively. I am willing to take on the tasks set ahead of me, willing to take the risk or discomfort and pain for the sake of my happiness and my future.
I am faced with a lot of pain in the world, I can see it in people’s eyes and hear it between the lines of their conversations but I am determined, that as I changed my expectations in life and brightened my life, that others might start doing the same.That the sweetness that now lives in my heart, will rest on those that I encounter. I heard a really nice analogy once; that sweet people are like a rose garden. After spending time in their presence, you leave with their aroma on you. I hope that with my new transformation of mind and heart, that I will become a rose garden to my community, that I will be able to give back some of the sweetness that I have found in myself since moving here.
This whole journey so far has taught me that life is truly just what you make it out to be; how you look at life and take on each day determines what you will get out of it. I have taken up the challenge and dare you to do the same; take a look into how you are seeing life, examine what your most frequent emotion is and change your expectations to give you more happiness. Don’t expect too much of yourself and those around you, be realistic.