Beyond Expectations

Despite being a proud California-born, Oregon-raised girl, my husband and I recently found ourselves transplanted deep in the heart of Texas, in the beautiful, lively and welcoming city of Austin. Despite my best efforts to resist, this bustling city has quickly nestled its way into my heart.

While our new location has far exceeded expectations, my new career as a registered nurse hasn't quite lived up to the creative hopes and dreams that I always imagined for myself. Seeing my constant frustration with a high-stress job, my husband encouraged me to resume simple creative outlets such as blogging, in an effort to rejuvenate the soul and inspire the future. And so begins this blog, an attempt to chronicle life in Austin and hopefully find inspiration and purpose for the future.

Expectations are abundant. The ones others put upon you, the ones you place upon yourself, those from childhood, those you acquire through the process of simply growing up. There are expectations from family members, spouses, children, employers, friends, society. Expectations are inescapable. For some individuals, expectations provide guidelines, rules to follow, a safety net, if you will. At other times they are a frustration, they are limiting, keeping you from moving forward, stepping outside of the box, taking a risk. Expectations are everywhere.

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about expectations. Mainly those I have placed on myself and those I have yet to achieve. When my husband and I first realized we would be moving to Austin, my expectations of Texas living were less than desirable. I allowed myself a short period of time to wallow in self-pity thinking about the misery that was surely waiting for me in this harsh, brown, cactus-filled, tornado-infested desert. Perhaps a bit dramatic but that was the expectation I had built up in my mind. And while Austin is far different from the beautiful Oregon greenery and snow-capped mountains, it is beautiful in it's own way and the warmth of the city and it's people have far surpassed all expectations. 

So why am I talking to you about my expectations? I realize at times my expectations can be a bit...exaggerated. While I felt justified in  my misery when I pictured tumbleweeds rolling past my front door, I suppose I didn't really expect reality to match my imagination. Sadly, I feel this is what many of our positive expectations come to though. We often expect good things for our lives but in reality we don't actually believe they are capable of being fulfilled.

Since moving to Austin and beginning a new job, I have fallen into an expectation slump. I had high expectations for my new career as a registered nurse. I was excited to finally feel like I had achieved something I'd worked at for so long, excited to finally feel secure in our finances, excited to be able to care for people who are sick and hurt, excited to be able to put money toward my creative passions and hopefully one day be able to move closer toward those creative goals. It turns out however, my specialty of nursing is far from ideal. I have never felt more lost, frustrated, tired, or more stressed out in my entire life. I am not a quitter but I find the words coming out of my mouth frequently these days. 

It has been in these months that I have lost sight of some of the more important expectations I have placed on myself over the years. It has become easy for me to focus on the expectations of paying loans, providing for our family and the consequences associated with quitting my job. It has become less easy to keep in mind the --expectations I have for the future--those goals and dreams that keep me awake at night because I am too excited to sleep. And so, in this New Year, I choose to dream big. I choose to indulge my pie-in-the-sky dreams. I choose to reorient my focus.  I choose to believe that any goal is attainable and that every step I take, whether apparent or not, is bringing me one step closer to those goals. I choose to have an open mind and an open heart, to dream big and dream often in the new year.

As I was sitting to write this first blog post, a sweet friend sent me a text message with a quote from Jesus Calling that I found appropriate to include:

"True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse you with a dream that seems far beyond your reach. You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal. Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me. It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time, leaning on Me as much as you need. This is not a patch of continual success but of multiple failures. However, each failure is followed by a growth spurt, nourished by increased reliance on Me. Enjoy the blessedness of a victorious life through deepening your dependence on Me."

If you've made it to the end of this very long first post, I thank you and I hope these words find meaning and purpose in your life today. This blog is merely a means to chronicle my life in Austin and all the adventures in between as the husband and I explore the city and adjust to this new chapter in our lives.  I look forward to welcoming you into my life through this blog and sharing with you the deep, the lighthearted, the silly and even the mundane. 

-From Austin, With Love