Do you have high expectations? I do. Or at least I am always told my expectations are high. Usually too high for others to attain. I have been told more times than I can count that I cannot expect others to do what I do, or achieve what I want them to achieve because my expectations are too high. If I lower my expectations then life will surprise me instead of disappointing me. I ask this – if I have already lowered my expectations – haven't I already disappointed myself?
I love the month of April and not just because my birthday is in April. I love the way the Earth renews itself in the month of April – at least in North America. I know in different parts of the world, their Spring comes in different months. For me, April is a time to reawaken the senses. Whatever we put to sleep during the winter, whether it is our desire to exercise or our need for sunshine, suddenly when April rolls around, we are suddenly overcome with an urging to go outside. To spend time breathing in the fresh air and letting our hair down. We want to go for long walks again. We take our dogs out and watch them frolic in the new grass as it sprouts in our yards. We see the tulips and other perennials as they pop through the once cold ground. It always bring to mind Easter egg hunts with my kids, where we loaded up the backyard with eggs of purple, pink, yellow, green and blue for them to find. Many times, they were wide in the open (for the younger ones to find) and hidden beneath pots or plants for the older ones. I can hear their laughter as they run about the yard and discover their eggs, plopping them into their baskets and then running to show me their treasures.
Spring is also a time to renew my spirit. After being cooped up all winter long with my laptop sitting on my lap and a blanket wrapped around my toes, I can set up my deck furniture and take everything outside. I am inspired by the fresh air and the blue clouds. I was reading an article in the RWR about working space and how we create it. What inspires us to work better. For many of us, it depends. We need that one space to call our own. The space where once family members see us there, they know not to bother us. For others, our workspace is portable. A laptop we can take anywhere allows us the freedom to use the inspiration around us. My workspace has been portable for many years. I take my laptop to basketball practices, softball games, poolside, and even waiting in the doctor's office. Someone once commented on how I was able to shut out the rest of the world and all its interruptions and focus on what was in front of me. If you are a writer, you know exactly what I am talking about – we learn to focus. We learn to shut out the rest of the world.
Why do we do this? We have expectations. In many cases, our expectations are higher than other people's because we want to be published someday. We want to finish our stories. We don't want to wait until we get home to do this. We will do it wherever we find the time and the small space to do it. We are not good at accepting what life has given us. We want more. Yes, our expectations are higher. We will work a full day and then come home and write until our eyes are so blurry we cannot see the words on the page or until our heads are drooping at the computer. Which is why we often do have high expectations of others around us. We think – "Hey, if I can do all of this, why can't you get the dishes done for me?"
Not unreasonable expectations I think. But then, others do not think like we do. They want to come home, put their feet up and veg out in front of the tv or the video game. They do not want to think about making dinner, doing dishes, throwing in a load of wash, or taking the kids to their myriad of activities. That is our job. After all we took on the responsibility of being a mother the day we allowed a man to inseminate us, right? LOL Sorry, I had to include that, because you know that is exactly what a man is thinking.
Years ago, the reasonable expectation for a woman was to have children and raise them. To do nothing else. Then, after WWII and women joined the workforce in great numbers, the men were away fighting, they learned that women could not only work a full-time job, but raise a family at the same time. And women learned they could do more than just cook dinner for their husbands and keep a clean house. And they realized they wanted to do more. They felt empowered (high expectations). Suddenly, more women were going into the workforce and doing everything, while men were still only expected to go to work, bring home a paycheck and sit and watch tv when they came home. Now, when women start asking them to do more, they say our expectations are too high. (Not mine, mine is a liberated man who helps out. I know, I wonder where I found him as well. Sorry, I'm not sharing. Twenty five years and going strong, ladies.).
So, are my expectations too high of other people? Yes they are. Too bad. I like where I am and I like what I do and yes, I do expect others to give 100% or more because if I can do it and still get all of this done, then so can they. Too bad. I don't think we should have to apologize because others are too lazy to pull their weight in this world of ours. But, alas, I don't think others will agree with me. If my high expectations help me write one more novel or help me on my road to being published, then it is all worth it. So, what in the world does Spring have to do with high expectations? It's time to dust off those expectations, the ones that were dormant all winter long and bring them out. Time to send out the novels we worked on over the winter when we couldn't go outside. They are ready to blossom. We are ready to blossom. Most of all, we are ready to let those expectations take us right to the editor's desk and wow them with our insight and beautiful prose. We are ready to let them world know – I am a writer and I am worth reading.