There are times when the idealistic bull that I see about people’s expectations from their marriages and relationships in general make me want to puke. It goes well beyond just a mild annoyance or a light giggle because it is so pervasive that it makes me wretch. The reason why it has that effect is because it is spewed by those with barely any experience in an unsupervised setting. People that have yet to experience life outside of earshot of their parent’s nurturing stares or comforts of home should really stop short of telling others what they should or shouldn’t tolerate or expect in life or their relationships.
It’s not a romantic novel waiting to be cracked open, nor is it a fairytale waiting to be lived. Consider this…if the life you’ve been exposed to so far has already made you yearn for such idealistic outcomes, imagine how much more you’ll yearn for when you’ve had that many more experiences behind you which will open your eyes to realities you always thought belonged in someone else’s life?
Every mistake that you thought you made just once because you’ll know better in future suddenly slaps you with a different glove concealing its cynical lesson that needs to be taught. Every foul-mouthed man or woman that you saw bitterly cursing others or their mere existence suddenly becomes a point of anxious familiarity rather than a source of pity on a good day. Suddenly they possess the voice that is stifled within you but your cultural subscription prevents you from betraying the facade that is proper.
Life is not a romantic notion that needs to be pursued. Every single expectation you have will be tested within breaths of you feeling that sense of accomplishment. Accomplishment and fulfilment will be ever elusive because the more you learn, the more you yearn. The greater the detail you notice, the greater the void you see between what you are and what you always wanted to be.
Servitude, even if embraced with total abandon will not yield the fulfilment you seek. It is like filling that leaking bucket and at times you can fill slightly faster than it leaks, but it always leaks more than the sum of your efforts to fill it. That is how people are. That is how we all are. We only appreciate what is for as long as the sense of comfort it gives is felt by our fickle souls. Once that moment is passed, it quickly fades into a rose coloured yearning for moments to come that we hope will meet the exaggerated memory that we caress of lesser moments that passed.
The longer the period between what has been and what needs to be, the more intense that slip into the slump of unfulfilled expectations. The very same expectations that we built on the exaggerated recollections of moments that we never fully appreciated while we were mentally distracted by measuring what was being presented against what we presented to others before, or what we believed we deserved in the first place. And so the beauty of the moment is lost, but whose loss is only ever truly grasped in grey moments that finally allow us to be detached from the distractions of that moment for long enough to realise the truth of what we didn’t notice.
Regret always comes too late. Idealism just ensures that when it arrives, it is accompanied with the tunes of the ballads that stir that longing for what has been so that we are consistently distracted from what is, while stupidly yearning for what will never be.