Maybe it starts in childhood. If you have a good one, you want to repeat it. If you have a bad one, you want to replace it. You have a certain map in your mind that lays out the future of your life, and when it goes off course you can either learn to correct it or not. Perhaps you think of yourself as brave and clever and keep going new directions. Until one day you hit your limit of turns. So you sit and cry, for no other reason except you are so damn tired.
I was practically born in church. The comfort of hymns and carols and sermons was strangely calming to me. But when people close to me see my faith as foreign and judgmental, it’s hard. I was practically born a lawyer. I knew from a young age I would plow forward to law school, form arguments, write things. But I realized over the years that a win for a client can be at your expense if necessary, and compromise really is the way life works. And I was born a control freak. As a child, I’d tell my sister what to do. I actually told my piano teacher enough already with Beethoven. That was the day my mother quit spending her hard-earned salary on piano lessons. And naturally as a mother, I know what is best for all the children of the world that belong to all people all of the time. Or I don’t.
So today I look at expectations and say to them, “I give in.” I cannot keep up with you. We are one hundred percent not in charge of what happens around us in this crazy life, and living up to expectations just breeds disappointment.
Sometimes you just have to let it all go, the image of things, and look at what’s right in front of you. Acknowledge that you have this sickness or this crappy deal. Let go of the anger. Tell people you are trying out for a new play and you are trying to get the crying scene down because you are #noquitter. Embrace the turns, because it’s the only life you get. If you don’t keep moving with the pathways, you run face-first into a tree. And then, no one will be eating your beautiful sugar cookies because you’ll have oak-print on your face spitting out acorns.
So cry until you’re done and then stop. Get up, wipe your face, and stick a smile on it. After all, ugly cookies are still cookies. They are from the heart. Your kids gleefully dump sprinkles on them. Whether it’s grief or cancer or divorce, you can do this. Let go of your expectations and just live the life you have. One cookie, one foot, one turn at a time.
Amanda Hill is an attorney, mother, writer, and lover of funny things. She owns her own law firm based in Austin, Texas and practices health law. She is also a blogger and writer discussing themes of faith, humor, and motherhood. Her writing has appeared on sites like Scary Mommy, Belladonna Comedy, (in)courage, Blog Her, The High Calling, and Aiming Low. She finished her first novel and an adapted screenplay and is currently working out her stress with satire. She can be found on facebook and twitter as @amandabethhill and Instagram as @amandahillwrites. For more information, see www.hillpen.com