Expectations vs. Reality

I watch a crap load of TV. Like, way more than a normal person should even admit to watching. Yes, there are shows I haven’t gotten to yet (e.g. The Sopranos, The Wire), but I can breeze through a 13-episode season of an hour-long drama in a day, and sometimes a whole series within a week or two, depending on how long it ran. I get caught up in the drama, cover my eyes when something gross happens, and feel withdrawals once I reach a series’ end. Sometimes I go back and re-watch certain scenes that I relate to in some way (or wish I could). I have no involvement with these “people” or their lives, but I feel like I do, to an extent. I connect to them, but don’t get the same back in return. I’m on the other side of the screen, on the outside looking in.

It’s hard not to take this approach in life, as well, observing from a distance; keeping to the periphery; there, but not too involved; taking what I can safely get and accepting nothing beyond that. When something happens to disrupt my semi-content little world, it’s easier to change course, to be the one who accommodates. I don’t fight the current, for fear that to do so would have a greater consequence. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and I am the one who reacts. I avoid asking for or expecting anything different—fearing that disappointment and reality would be worse—and instead rationalize/over-think to cut to the chase and accept things as they are. I try to stay neutral and don’t speak up for myself, not wanting to upset whatever semblance of balance I’ve found; a balance that seems safe, though not fulfilling; a balance that maybe isn’t really a balance at all and tilts a little more toward others than to myself.

This extends further than I thought, though, and is not sustainable. The over-analyzing gets in the way of finding what I want (need) by assuming that what could happen will happen, so I avoid those situations entirely and/or close myself off from better relationships. Next week is my birthday (the last one of my twenties…eep), and I don’t have anything planned. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth after imagining the horror of setting something up and no one coming, or friends not having a good time. I don’t want to be a burden, or for them to feel obligated, and such thoughts keep me from the potential of good experiences. Those outcomes seem inevitable, and trying to think otherwise feels like setting myself up for disappointment.

I don’t know how to change this yet, and doing so will likely be terrifying/messy/draining, but identifying it, at least, seems like a step in the right direction. It’s lonely feeling inconsequential, like an after-thought…but hopefully good things can come from this awareness. And in the meantime, there will at least be beerz in the summer sun.