If I have learned anything over the past eight years it is that expectations hinder growth. We create these ideas of who we are supposed to be and what our families and lives are supposed to be like. Our decisions and choices are then catered to match those expectations. The problem is, there’s no room for the magic of our dreams in that scenario.
I grew up with plenty of expectations. Be a good girl, have fun, but not too much. Kiss the boys, but not too much. I followed the rules. Weeeeeell, I guess that really matters who you talk to! Look- I followed the ones that mattered to my blueprint anyway. I went to college. I got a job with my degree right out of school. I got married. We bought a house, had a baby, and another 2 years later.
It was during these years when we got knocked down by a one-two-three-four punch. We were left dazed, numb, gasping for air, and confused- I refer to it as our being “battered brave”. See, it was only as a result of these unexpected events that my husband and I found the chutzpah, nerve, balls-however you want to say it- to throw out the very detailed blueprint of our lives and, in 2010, quit our jobs and sell our home. We packed up our beautiful life on Long Island to take the risk we had been too afraid to take for years. We took our family to our other home, my home, Boston.
This is a decision that was met with much scrutiny and to be honest, we understood. The economy was still a mess from the global financial crisis of 2008. In order to relocate we had to sell our first home at a loss and leave the careers we had just spent 15 years busting our tails for, nevermind the family traditions and friendships we had to redefine along the way. Most people though we were CRAZY.
It was, in these moments that my husband and I changed from friends, lovers, and spouses to family. It was, by far, the best decision that has ever made for our family. (For that we Thank God daily for our unanswered prayers….Clearly, our plan was not our own……)
Look, life is going to throw you curveballs. Your Dad could die in the middle of the night. Your children may be born with needs you were not expecting. Your best friend may die of cancer…..When life’s tragedies come crashing down, that “blueprint“ turns into a source of pain and loss. It holds back the healing and growth that needs to take place in order to move on.
My hope and intention for us all is that, in those moments, when we begin to feel despair settle in, we are able to allow the power of the universe (whether you define that power as Allah, God, Jesus, Mother, or Dr. Bill) to take over and trust that,
“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”