Managed Expectations

I guess you could call this The Balance of Creativity + Health part 2. This year is off to a sprint already. It is hard to believe that it is nearly March already. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t come close to some of my quarter 1 goals. And I am learning (re-learning) to be okay with that.

One theme that is common amongst creatives who manage serious + longterm health conditions is the constant reminder that our trajectory is not “the norm”. Even after 15 years of being an MG patient, I still catch myself wondering if I will ever catch up to where my colleagues + peers are at in life and business. This is not a means of twisted self-deprecation masking a desire for someone to tell me I’m doing great  – I promise it is not! It is just part of the hand I’ve been dealt.

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The reality is that being a person with an incurable disability means that I will always be practicing managing the expectations of others + of myself. My husband and nearing our 4 year wedding anniversary; we are inching closer to 30. We don’t have kids – we don’t know when or if that will be a possibility for us with my health. One thing you will learn very quickly if a loved one is diagnosed with an incurable + serious disease; every single part of your life is affected + influenced by this diagnosis. We don’t own a house. So while our friends close on their homes + share their exciting announcements of expecting a child, we joyfully celebrate for and with them. We are watching them meet these milestones, and we step back knowing that our path will be so different. But I also know that I cannot – should not – evaluate myself based on where others are at in their lives. If I did, I would always have a chip on my shoulder + a sour attitude.

The same goes for business. My success as a painter will look different from my able bodied peers. It is not realistic for me to set the expectation that I will create large bodies of work that sell out within hours – my body is incredible in what it can handle, but I also know my limits. I need to be kind to my body. I need that physically, but emotionally as well so that I have the stores of energy + creativity to paint. It’s not fair to myself or to my friends to evaluate my success based on whether or not it lines up with their milestones.

So for now, I will continue to work slowly on the paintings + projects that bring me joy . I’ll continue to remind myself that where I am at now is worth celebrating. And I’ll day dream with donuts. Because who doesn’t love a little donut with their paint?

One thought on “Managed Expectations

  1. Excellent advice. Having switched careers (and gone through hardships), I know how difficult it can be to watch others seemingly ‘advance’ in their lives and feel like you’re left behind. We all move at our own pace depending on our situation. Also, you never know what is actually going on with anyone else. It’s just a waste of energy to compare yourselves to other people. :)

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