Your expectations now VS your expectations as a kid


Mar 9, 2012
Taipei City, Taiwan
Looking back at when you were way younger, how has your expectations of yourself changed over time? Do you have higher expectations of yourself now or do you now have lower expectations of yourself?

•I used to say that I will become a famous scientist when I was around seven-ish. But I grow up more realizing that I don't really have the right mind for it, and that there are sometimes unrealistic goals of being "famous". Now I have lower expectations for myself in the sciences.

•I have once said that I wanted to become an artist (the fine arts kind of artist). Now I think pure fine arts is just impractical and that I should work on something that I cherish more-- children animation films. I think now I have higher expectations of myself in arts.
Expectations as a kid: Be a trillionaire.
Expectation now: Be a billionaire.

As you can see I have lower expectations of myself now.
Expectations as a kid: be spiderman
Expectations now: be spiderman
Ahh, all I know is my life is FAR from I ever imagined it being as a kid. I guess good in some ways (I'm a pretty talented musician and quite knowledgeable in music theory, which I never expected to be), but bad in other ways (basically some personal shit I'm not gonna get in to).

All I know though, is that life is really fucking weird and almost never turns out how you expect.
As a kid, I didn't know what career I wanted, but I was leaning towards being a teacher. But more than anything, I really wanted to be a wife and mother. I was even willing to be a stay at home mom if a career didn't work out.

Thank God I realized those things weren't for me before I did something stupid and got knocked up. Now I want to work in the occupational therapy field, primarily with the psychiatric inpatient population. If I get into this field, I'm getting out of this state and moving somewhere warm - I despise cold weather for even one or two seasons of the year. I would also love to find a career oriented significant other, who doesn't count on marriage or children, one who loves literature, classical music, animation, and video games like I do.

I'm being foolish with the significant other part, but at least I can dream about it from time to time.
I remember being really worried about what I was going to do as an adult. I find I still can't take anything seriously enough. I know at one point I wanted to be a priest for their seemingly magical powers.

I certainly didn't see myself living on the west coast with a man.
I thought life would always lead me well and rail-road me where I want to go

Now I know you can only slightly rely on luck to get you where you want
I don't really remember having any specific expectations about my adulthood when I was a kid. After I graduated high school (nearly 12 years ago now) I was pretty much positive that by now I'd be married, maybe have a kid or kids, and that my first couple of books would have already been published. Obviously I'm not married, I don't have kids (which I don't want right now anyway so that's fine), and I'm still working on my first book. It's funny, I was thinking about this the other day, how things rarely turn out the way you thought they would. I can't complain too much though, I've made a lot of progress as a person and achieved a lot of personal growth I badly needed. I've come a long way from the person I was at age 17. Now if I can just get my darn book published I'll be good!
As a kid I thought:
- I would have a good few genuine friends as an adult, once we all matured and were on the same level. (LOL)
- Being a self-employed author would be a piece of cake.
- I would keep being under-challenged academically and basically be Lisa Simpson forever, have my pick of careers and maybe flit between teaching and being a vet.
- I would be a foster carer at some point, but I'd have to be married first.

Now I think:
- I'll have one genuine "soul sibling" level friend per decade (if I'm lucky).
- Being an author is fucking hard work, but the writing part is more fun that I expected. I still hope for success, and that's more important to me now than it was as a kid, because I didn't perceive any writers as being "famous"-famous when I was younger. I thought they were all introverts, and would avoid it.
- College was hard, and while I expect that having a job as a first year uni student will be manageable, I don't have high hopes of balancing anything with my education after that. Nonetheless, I intend to do postgrad and either become a politician or teacher. I see that as within reach if I knuckle down.
- I still intend to foster, and that seems easier now with my current knowledge than it did as a child. I will not have to be married.
I used to think I was going to die young when I was a kid.

...This has been a very disappointing life.
as a kid: win olympic gold medal
as adult: win another olympic gold medal
It's hard to explain, but for me it's that the sense of being part of some story where you are the protagonist kind of fizzles out unceremoniously and leaves you drifting for the rest of forever.
As a kid, you're on a path, there's a plan laid out for you, and whether you intentionally break from the plan or follow it to the letter, there's this linear progression of growth, and an ultimate goal to strive for. You have allies, you have enemies, you have trials that you pass or fail, you have moments of catharsis, etc. You feel like part of a beautiful narrative, like the heroes in movies and books and tv shows and stories. You feel like there's a right and a wrong way to go, and some ultimate fate waiting for you at the end that will sum up what all of it meant.
When you get to be an adult, that illusion crumbles away as you realize that you don't have a narrative, there is no path or plan, things aren't always linear, and you're nobody's hero. There are no allies, because friends can be both good and bad for you simultaneously. There are no enemies, because frankly no one cares enough to wage a personal war for long. You don't have a destiny. You make choices that are more a product of random chance than you want to admit, and sometimes the consequences make sense, sometimes they don't. You may flounder around in a bunch of different directions for many years, ultimately not making any progress, and having nothing of import to show for it. You're not a good person or an evil person - you're just an ant wandering around looking for crumbs. No, worse than an ant, because an ant has a purpose in life, to serve its queen and colony. You can choose to align yourself with a purpose, but it may never fulfill you or reward you. And nobody will be waiting with a shiny gold medal for you if you stick to it.
Life as an adult seems less and less like an exciting adventure story and more and more like a delerious, confusing fog of random developments and passing phases that raise more questions than they answer.
Edit: I somehow put my first edit in the middle of the text, which made it weird. But it said thank you very much for the gold and comments. I appreciate all the insights and solidarity, and the disagreement too.
I haven't always felt this way about adulthood, and I probably won't always feel exactly this way. It's not as if everything's hopeless, or that I'll never try to find a direction for my life. It's just that the realization of how small your impact actually is, and that you are not destined for anything great, and how subject you are to forces bigger than yourself - that's a tough pill to swallow.
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