Expectations vs Reality: When Real Is Better Than The Ideal
Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha — the iconic Sex and the City foursome that set the bar for female friendships everywhere. Through chic afternoon brunches, insane levels of fashion, luxury trips, and sleepovers well into your forties, the 4 ladies depicted a bond that could weather even the most turbulent storms and became the embodiment of BFF goals that women have craved for decades.
Even though their glamorous and seemingly perfect friendship exists in a fantasy world of wealth, class and elite social status --- a world that is foreign to the average person --- as high-school me watched them navigate life together for 6 seasons, I developed this burning desire to rush to university to meet my very own bff "soulmates."
While some women go to university with the hope of finding their future husbands, I left my hometown in hopes of finding my forever friends. The group of 3 girls (plus me) that would almost exactly replicate my Sex and the City fantasy. I spent 4 years fostering relationships in classes, joining clubs and even a sorority (a story for another day), in hopes of fulfilling my dream. Needless to say, despite my fervent searching, when I walked across that graduation stage....I was sorely disappointed. As hard as I'd tried... guess what — I never found my “group”. In fact...3 years later, I STILL don’t have them. My fantasy four never came to fruition.
For the past 4 years, my boyfriend has endured my deep sighs and pitiful complaining about needing that particular friend dynamic. Sure, I made close friends; but, they just didn't fit the fantasy. Each friendship was individual; but, somehow never blossomed into the foursome I had imagined. Most of them barely knew each-other; so, the only thing they had in common was...well...me!
Instead of being 4 parts of a whole, they were scattered all over different phases of my life — not to mention different parts of the world. Each relationship was different and functioned in different capacities. Therefore, instead of one epic friend group, I had a bunch of little twosomes.
There was my childhood best friend — the one that’s been around since I was 12. The person who has watched me grow and has helped me develop into the person I am today. She has been there through every bad grade, and every grounding from my parents (usually because of some trouble we got into together). She's witnessed every relationship and has been my rock through every heartbreak. She is the person that my future child will call "auntie" (even though there's no relation) and is the person that will eventually stand next to me the day I say I do. She is my oldest friend and the person I can’t imagine my life without. She is the standard I hold all my budding friendships to, and after we out-live our husbands, she will be the person I wreak havoc on the nursing home with!
I have my hometown friends — an unexpected mashup of 7 inspiring women from different parts of my life, who all knew each other in different capacities and then somehow fused together to form a giant support system for each of us to lean on. We were all friends individually and then one day, something brought us together and the rest is history!
And last but not least, my adult-friendships— this group includes my friends from university, my work friends and the few friends I just so happened to meet along the way. Each unique in their own way, and each with our own special relationships.
See, sounds like a pretty good deal right? But, for such a long time, there was a part of me that didn't realize what I had, because it didn't match my "expectations." I had this image of what I wanted specifically and almost negated what I already had. But, in truth, my reality was BETTER than what I was envisioning.
So many times in life, we create this "ideal." An imaginary image of what we expect or what we want to happen in our lives; and though we should work towards obtaining that vision, sometimes we forget to allow room for life to surprise us. We push so hard to fit what we think we want, that it clouds us from being able to see the beauty in what we already have.
It's the same in love. Sometimes the person that ends up being perfect for us, is completely different than what we expected. They may be shorter, or less fashionable; they may be a different race or culture.
It's the same for careers. We may spend our whole lives trying to be a doctor, and then end up happier as an artist. We may think we want to be a musician; but, find our passion for teaching kindergarten.
It's funny because in our last blog we discussed what to do when we get "stuck" waiting on an opportunity. We discussed how sometimes "the wait" can show us things about ourselves that we need to work on; or, allow us to find better opportunities ------ one's we couldn’t even dream of! We discussed how sometimes, waiting can give us time to focus on the things we couldn't do otherwise. This is the same idea.
Sure, having purpose is an amazing thing, and working towards what we want is the right move. BUT, sometimes we get so focused on where we want to go, that we don't allow the journey to take us where we need to be.
Sometimes, we forget to look at what we have already accomplished and we don't realize that we're actually in a BETTER place than we thought.
For me, it took something like re-evaluating my friendships to see that sometimes our reality is BETTER than the ideal. What can a group of 4 bff's give me, that my individual relationships can't? I already have love, support and all of the encouragement that I can get from every angle of my life. I have voices of reason and inspiration no matter where I am or what situation I'm in, and I realize now, that not only is that good enough; but, it's BETTER than what I originally wanted.
So, I encourage you today to look at your reality and compare them to your expectations. You may just find there are some areas in your life that are working out better than you could have dreamed.