Last week I had an opportunity to have lunch with some amazing ladies and we discussed everything from healthy foods, to boys, to life plans. I guess that is typical girl talk, but at times the depth and honesty of our conversation startled me.
Throughout our talk, one of the girls asked, “what is the one lesson you learned this year?” The response from our friend was that “she didn’t have to rush.” For me the response was, “I can be unapologetic for who I am.” Although the responses were a little different, they both stemmed from the same core; Somehow, without our permission, our lives were being lived in response to the expectations, often unintentional ones, that other people had thrust on us.
For my friend, her unintentional expectations were hurry up and accomplish something, anything, everything. There was an unspoken ideal that she would reach her goals as quickly as possible and then the cycle will start over with a new goal and ideal.
For me, I caught myself expecting to apologize, not always for negative attributes, but often for positive ones. I felt there was a need to apologize for being smart, or for being a young professional, or for being in the positions I am in, or for being single (lets face it ladies, this one is hard for anyone to appreciate). There was a small part of me that felt guilty for having the life, experiences, and relationships I have had when discussing it with people. Again, it wasn’t an intentional expectation, and people definitely weren’t intentionally making me feel guilty. But, words, actions, and expressions carry far more weight than we initially measure and they cause us to live according to hidden standards.
This year helped me realize that I can be not just unapologetic, but also unpolished. As I’m experiencing life, I’m going to become aware of some flaws and I’m going to get a few chips and scratches. But, more importantly, I’m going to grasp opportunities, try new things (this week it was flowering tea, Crown Candy, and blogging), and be ok with who I am!