Expectations vs. Reality

I had my own 500 Days of Summer moment yesterday and the results were shocking, in the best way possible. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it brilliantly describes love by comparing our own naive and sometimes outlandish expectations with what really occurs. It talks about how we ignore the bad so that we can tell ourselves something is only good.large_500_days_of_summer_blu-ray11

I had one of these moments so hardcore. After years of waiting for that certain someone to finally commit to me, only to find out that he has moved on to someone new (and so quickly!), I decided to do what any sane human would do, and I deleted all of my digital memories of him. Photos on Instagram? Gone. Photo albums on Facebook? Also gone. Deleted from my G Chat, perfect. I remembered how many conversations we had via Facebook messages (over 1,000 messages once I actually went to check them), and before deleting them all, I decided to read them. I expected to see bittersweet memories of what I could have had, if I had only tried harder! Loved harder!

But what I expected was much different than the reality.

What I actually found was conversation after conversation where I put myself on a limb only to be rejected. I found so many times when he passed me over to do something else with his friends. I even found her name — the one he is with now. I feel so dumb for not realizing earlier that I never had him. Even back then, I had already lost him to what he truly wanted.

I thought this realization would make me sad, but it didn’t. After the dumb feeling wore off, this realization enlightened me. It taught me a new lesson. It reminded me that I don’t need to grieve for something I never truly had from the beginning. It reminded me that I didn’t need to feel that I had screwed up or I had prevented something great from happening. Great things and great loves will happen to me. I just have to remind myself to look for the real people who care for me, and not expect it from the fake people who don’t.

At the end of the day, a reality check isn’t such a bad thing. We are given them on a daily basis and they usually end up making us feel like we have egg on our face. I say let those reality checks make you feel stronger. It’s only natural to want life to be a dream, but if you have to wake up, wake up refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge with clarity.

And so I add number 19 to my 30 Before 30 list:

19. Learn to be happy on my own.

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