[Sidenote: How has it been that I haven’t posted here since AUGUST?! I have so much to catch you guys up on. I promise to be a better blogger/use my calendar feature, schedule some posts, etc. It’s November (is anyone else surprised/horrified to see it’s November?), so all of my writer friends know what that means–National Novel Writing Month. This year, I’ve gotten my farthest ever in NaNoWriMo (over 30k words!), and I feel really good about the story. I recount the whole NaNo experience here. I’m in the midst of NaNoWriMo now, so I may not be posting much this month. Subscribe to the blog to get my latest posts whenever they come out.]
Lately, I’ve been pondering the relationship between waiting and expectation as it pertains to myself and others, specifically in regards to my writing and my romantic relationship.
I’ve been writing and dreaming of being published since I was five years old. Over the years, I’ve honed my craft, writing and revising. Now I’m ready to start sending out submissions, to try to make a career out of writing. I’ve been writing consistently, entering contests, and joining forums. I found an accountability partner and support group to keep me encouraged and focused. My goal is a publication contract by 30, less than two years away.
The closer I get, though, the more I realize how many expectations I’ve fostered of what publication will be like while I’ve been waiting to achieve it. I have the occasional dream of instant publishing success, great blurbs from my writing heroes, favorable reviews, enough money to quit my day job–but I know it can take a long time for those things to come, if ever. But having waited so long, I can feel myself beginning to feel entitled to receive these things simply because I’ve been trying to obtain them for so long, as if the accolades and recognition become a given based on the amount of work that I’ve put forward.
This says nothing of the expectations that readers will have– family members, schoolmates, friends, and social media followers who’ve been waiting to buy my first book since I was in high school and college. I’ve struggled with what I should write because of the expectation that whatever I put out should be an instant classic.
The relationship expectations are a mixture of personal and societal expectations. Being in a relationship for six years come December (o_O) tends to breed a lot of expectations. One expectation that really bothers me is that I’ll be subjected to the Finally Phenomenon. I see so many people posting “Finally!” in response to engagement announcements, which I suppose is nice than the “It’s about time!” posts I’ve seen on occasion. I don’t want a bunch of “finally,” “it’s about time,” or “what took so long” posts on my social media if I ever get engaged, but with a long-term dating relationship, I know those posts would come.
Mr. Perfect has expressed that he feels a slight pressure to get a really huge, sparkly rock at this stage of the game. Since we’ve been together this long, since people think that he makes/has so much money, since he could have gotten a small little thing a long time ago, he has to get a really fancy ring if he is going to propose now. While I like a good sparkler as much as the next girl, my expectations in this area have been tempered by reality. If not being able to afford a gigantic, Rock of Gibraltar ring is what’s keeping us from moving forward, it’s not because I’m demanding it. Upgrade me later if you feel so inclined. But it’s not really about me; it’s about everyone who would want to see the ring after our engagement was announced. The ring is basically his pride and manhood on my finger at that point.
Also worth mentioning is the marital fantasy being spun by both of us of how different marriage will be from now, some of which is unrealistic: fantasies of how much cooking I will do, living together, marital relations );-)), the trips we’ll be able to take, the loved ones we’ll be able to help, leaving the check to check life behind–none of which is guaranteed. But the time, energy and effort we’ve put forward, and our commitment to doing it God’s way, have made the expectations for what it will be that much greater.
Does waiting for something make you think that obtaining it/reaching it will be sweeter, more rewarding, more special–worth the wait? Did you suffer a letdown because of how much you hyped something up while you were waiting to achieve it? Let me know if I’m alone in this.