Everything in life is temporary. Success, failure, trips, paychecks, homes, cherry blossoms, summer, inspiration, motivation, beliefs, sunsets, friendships, love, you, me. Especially me.
Expectations. Work, relationships, countries, happiness. For years, I have been so hard on myself for constantly changing my mind, for making a commitment to something and someone and then flake after a few months. I was led to believe that maybe I was wrong, damaged, weird. I never had a 10-year plan for my life. I never even had a 1-month plan. I just lived, quit jobs, said goodbye to boyfriends I used to swear I was in love with, moved from country to country. Society teaches us that we should make commitments and be serious about sticking to them as if we are train drivers rushing on a straight track we can’t divert from. The train driver can’t change his mind and turn left. And although there is no train or track, there always will be others who will get frustrated when you go straight and suddenly decide to change direction.
To live life with no expectations is hard. It’s almost like rocket science because we were programmed to be planners, to be serious. But commitments like having a family and kids, living in a single country, or striving for or a long-lasting career preserve the society, not your personal happiness. I am a temporary being and I can’t keep denying this. I have met so many people who put expectations on their partner or job that they end up feeling disappointed and ruin the whole thing. A wonderful person crosses their path and instead of enjoying that moment that will only last a little they start making plans for how they will spend every weekend together, get married, have kids, and hold hands until they grow old. When you meet somebody you create a projection of this person, put expectations of how they should act, who they are or what they should say to you. And when they don’t meet your expectations you get upset. You might get mad, yell, leave, and end this relationship or friendship.
Every person is a different reality. We are almost like different planets co-existing in the same place. And that’s beautiful because we can let our realities collide, satisfy our curiosity, and learn something new, rather than predict, control and put labels on people. So many books have been written about this imaginary thing called “commitment phobia”. This is especially true for some men who are labeled by their women as “commitment phobes” as if this is a disease and they should be treated. It is much more dangerous to stay commited when you want to go because you are not only ruining your life, you are ruining the other person’s life as well.
I am not a “commitment phobe”, I have no trouble being loyal to something or someone I like. But I also have no trouble letting go. Every person or every experience that comes into our life is there to teach us something valuable. Some life lessons are quick and easy to learn, and so the bond with our new friend is temporary. We meet, we learn, and we move on to the next lesson. Other lessons are harder, they require us to stay together for longer – a year, a decade, or maybe a lifetime. We only have this much time left to live. The temporality in people is beautiful, yet so underappreciated.