“You have permission to defy expectations.”
– Brittany Packnett
I turned 50 last week. Even writing that number surprises me. Really? Me, 50? It’s made me oh so very reflective about my life, what I’ve accomplished, what I haven’t accomplished, and what I STILL plan to achieve.
YES, I PLAN TO BE EVEN MORE FABULOUS OVER 50 THAN I WAS UNDER — A LOT MORE FABULOUS.
So here’s why I chose the quote from the fantastic and inspiring Brittany Packnett to open my birthday article.
Until recently, I didn’t believe I had permission to defy expectations. I’d dance nervously on the edge of expectations, lean out far, and then find myself quickly scurrying back. Now some of you who know me well are probably thinking, “Seriously? You are ALL about defying expectations. You’ve been playing on the skinny branches of life for as long as I’ve known you.”
But here’s the truth. I’ve been wearing expectations most of my life like a coat. A big, bulky “John Snow at the wall, winter is coming” kind of coat. (Ok, probably more like a Sam Tarley kind of coat but I think you get the gist.) It’s heavy and smelly and because I’m filled with buckets of energy and fire, yet I keep running around with it on me.
Here’s the silly part of this story. As Brittany implied, I’m the only person requiring me to wear the coat. I’m the one who keeps dragging it around and plopping it over my shoulders when I’m worried that someone might be judging me. I’m the one who tries to pretend that the pile of furs and smells is a stunning silk embroidered robe—a robe guaranteed to make others look at me and say, “Yes, Joanna. You DO matter.” I’m the one making myself exhausted by the weight of expectations.
I KNOW. IT’S RIDICULOUS.
It’s time, at 50, to take off the coat of my own making. It’s time for me to stop dancing on the edges of expectations and lean out, ALL the way out and see what happens. I need to defy my own expectations.
Here’s my question for you. Do you have a coat of your own making? I’m not asking you to take it off yet, just asking you to recognize that you’re wearing one. That’s the first step. It doesn’t matter what age you are; you can take it off.