What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting

This week’s Writing Challenge asks us to think about our own expectations, but lately, it’s everyone else’s expectations that have been on my mind. 

My life is taking its time reaching a pretty major turning point: graduation. Now, it seems like every day goes by in slow motion. Many of my high school classmates are graduating this year. I see them posting their graduation photos on facebook, sharing their post-grad accomplishments and celebrating their last ever exams. The fact that I am 8 months behind is painful, and it will only get worse when convocation rolls around, and they all go back in June to wear a hat and receive a diploma. In the fall, they will be starting post-graduate work, or getting real jobs. And I’ll be moving back into my student apartment, maybe with a fresh box of pens or something, about to begin my final school term.

What I am trying to get at is this: I am 150% done with undergrad.

And when it’s over, I will have a new battle: Expectations.

My expectations are limited. I know I won’t get my dream job fresh out of school. I know that if I do masters, it will be hard, and I won’t like it any better than I like undergrad. I know I’ll still be living in a sub-par apartment with a leaky drain pipe and bad wifi, probably still using my mom’s old blackberry and the same $7.99 toaster.

But it’s becoming clear to me that my expectations aren’t really that important. The important thing is what everyone else expects of me. In my family, I am the one who gets it right – I went to the right school, I majored in the right subject, I got the right grades, I found the long-term partner who also went to the right school, majored in the right subject, and got the right grades. When my convocation rolls around, what will be expected of me then? Am I supposed to get my dream job immediately, breeze through post-grad, and buy a quaint starter-home in a growing neighbourhood? And then what? Am I supposed to get married, move in with my husband after the honeymoon, and start trying for a baby?

Just how short am I going to fall from the expectations? Because I don’t have plans to do any of those things. I also don’t look forward to the fall from “the good one” to “the one who was promising, but didn’t quite make it”.

The main reason I’m on this topic is the whole “having kids” issue. I’m supposed to have them. I’m supposed to provide the first set of great-grandchildren. I’m supposed to be a wonderful, put-together mother who takes it all in stride and does what’s right even when things get hard. No one ever bothered to ask whether or not I wanted them – apparently, that doesn’t matter – and no one ever bothered to consider whether or not this spastic, emetophobic, anxiety-ridden tight-assed cold-hearted accountant/robot would actually make a good mother.

I might, if my children are investments. But even then. finance was never my strong suit.

But seriously, I don’t want kids. And for some reason, it’s still considered standard for people to just have them. You grow up, you get married, you pop out a few tiny people, and raise them until they can make babies of their own. If you don’t want them, “you’ll change your mind”. What if I do? How do I handle the whole not even liking children thing, then?

I have no idea. I’m just here to give the finger to all the people who expect me to procreate, because I can’t do it in person.

Expectations suck. Stop having them.

PS: Sorry for the unplanned “vacation”, but finals took me away from you for a while. I am back. Stay tuned for Emetophobia Fridays!

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13 Responses to What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting

  1. annevivid says:

    I have a child but it is not for everyone. It is so irresponsible of our culture to put that expectation on everyone. I wish people would stop asking couples when they are going to have kids!!! Maybe they don’t want kids- and good for them for knowing it! (Cheers to you on this point.) Or maybe they want kids but are unable to and so the question is potentially very emotionally wrought. Either way I think the expectation and the questions are annoying. If I were in your situation I think I would try to come up with a really good one-liner that would just shut down the conversation and maybe make them think twice about asking such a question. Also, having a child as an “investment”- not a good idea for anyone….

    • icedcappp says:

      I agree! I think having children is one of the most important decisions a person can make in their life, and people need to start showing more respect for that. No one needs random acquaintances weighing in on whether or not they’re ready to take on a lifelong commitment of parenthood (not to mention the many, many trials that can come with pregnancy).

      My parents refer to me as an investment sometimes, but I like to think they’re joking. ;)

  2. jetgirlcos says:

    Good job not letting society dictate a huge decision for you! I am 22 years married and no kids. I believe God gives each of us the *exact* number of children we are supposed to have. For us, it’s zero! It’s great for us, because we can contribute in other ways. Doesn’t mean we hate kids or anything, just that we don’t want to be parents. I very much admire great parents, but I know I wouldn’t be a great parent myself. I have pretty much learned to ignore people who make insensitive statements about it!

    • icedcappp says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, you’re absolutely right! I admire all of the great parents I know. I also admire some really fantastic couples in my life who never had children. Nothing is right for everyone :)

  3. Pingback: Beautiful Expectations | litadoolan

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  5. litadoolan says:

    Good post. I enjoy your writing, spirit and determination!

  6. Expectation suck
    Exactly
    Can’t really comment on the whole no kids issue, haven’t heard any girl say that to me so I don’t know where I stand.
    But do know this you WILL have to answer to many people’s question of why no children?

  7. tamsue says:

    I really liked reading this post. Let go of expectation. The only one you have to please in this world is yourself. I know it is easier said than done. I’m putting it out in the universe that accepting yourself for who you are is the key to freeing yourself from all these erroneous expectations. That you might gain from it. :)

  8. Pingback: A Hope from our Long Lost Distant Relations | Wired With Words

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