Between expectation and reality

When I was eleven years old I had certain ideas about my future. I knew that I wanted to have a good job – something practical, like building or construction. I knew that I wanted a family – a wife and two kids and a big house somewhere in the suburbs. I didn’t really consider my own happiness in any of those aspects.

500daysofsummer_expectations_hdOf course, I didn’t know any of those things in quite the way they’re being discussed now. I knew them through the intrinsic way such desires, such expectations, are pressed into us from the moment we begin to really start understanding the world. Of course, it’s only when we start to understand the world and when we start trying to find our own place in it that the hurt can really begin.

Sometimes we’re not happy.  Sometimes we struggle. Things get rough. It happens. It’s life.

It’s one of the more fundamentally twisted aspects of the human condition. That there will be times when things are really hard. Think about the last time you felt really, really shit. That’s going to happen again. At least once a week. Maybe more if you’re in your twenties. And if you’re still a teenager, well, I won’t even go there. Things will continue to be thrown at you. You will be challenged. You will be pushed to your limits in ways you never thought possible.

Sometimes the fear of the unknown grips you tight and it starts dragging you somewhere dark. There are periods of no motivation, no meaningful relationships – of little change. Sometimes there’s just nothing. It’s that feeling of nothing will always take it upon itself to worm its way back into your life, no matter where you might be, or who you might be with at the time.

So how do you get past that? I’m still working on it, but I think if I had to give an answer I’d say it’s important to embrace the unknown. Don’t run from it. Run to it. Run to the possibilities. Run for tomorrow. There’s so much about the future that is a complete enigma.

open road horizonWe don’t look the way we’re meant to, we don’t feel the things we’re supposed to, we’re not who we’re supposed to be and there’s nothing wrong with that. By our very nature we are wonderfully unique creatures, and if there’s anything that should be celebrated, it’s that. We should climb to the rooftops and championing the things that make us who we are. The millions of different ways our bodies have dreamt up to separate us from everyone else.

I’m twenty-one now and if there’s anything I’ve learnt it’s that life rarely unfolds in the manner to which we expect it to, but that’s okay. That’s a good thing. I still want to find a good job, I still want a family, but above all that I want to be happy. And I will construct my life around that first and foremost.

It’s time that tells our tale. The days fly past and they write our story. We tread across blank pages with ink-soaked feet and we leave footprints, footprints that twist through time and become our history. They become the now. The present becomes the past, the future becomes the present, and suddenly it isn’t as scary any more. Because it’s in front of us, and it is ours; all we have to is reach out and take it. When it’s in our hands, thats when we can shape it – when we can start to shape ourselves.

Life’s too short to get left behind in the dust. We live in a cookie-cutter society that seems more and more insistent on keeping you down. Don’t let it happen. Don’t let things consume you. In this battle of life there’s no weapon greater than your own individuality. Stand up. Stand out. Be proud.

Articly by HARRISON CARTWRIGHT, a final year Creative Arts and Communications student at the University of Wollongong. He doubts he’ll ever understand his own life, but he’s okay with that.

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