It's a simple word, really. "Expect," meaning to regard someone as likely to do or be something. "-tions" being your average suffix to transform the aforementioned verb into a noun. But so much meaning can be jam packed into that single word, expectations. One is expected to be a good spouse. A student is expected to make good grades, with an appropriate amount of work involved, that is. A car is expected to run well if it is given good care. A son or daughter is expected to know everything that he is she is supposed to do, and of course he or she is expected to be able to achieve every goal that others have set for him or her. Does it sound like a simple word anymore?

As simple as it is, I do not understand this word. Why is it that there are so many expectations that cannot be met as easily as they are said? Why do others insist of setting up these expectations and placing them on others as they so choose? Although often these goals are set up for the person in question's own good, but do they not have a choice in the matter? There are only so many times that a person can hear "You need to do this" before it gets to be too much. There are only so many "You have failed" or "It has to be your friend's fault" comments that a person can take before they start ignoring whatever expectations people place on their shoulders. But that would be the good cases. In such cases that the person does not ignore these expected outcomes, they are overwhelmed with anger or frustration that others do not understand the lives that they run. If they hear "You need a job" more than once in a short period of time, what can they say? "Alright, I'll get right on that for the third time. Thanks for bringing this to my attention." How many people will do this? The person in question cannot apply for more jobs than are already available to them, so why do others insist on bringing up the same topic every few days? They understand. They realize their need for an income and job experience that does not come from a six-week long job and a separate position from a company that hired them for only a few hours a week and is now out of business. A steady job would be of more use on a resume, of course. Noted. However, how are they supposed to get hired and gain the work experience if they need work experience in order to be hired for the job in the first place? Another point, if you apply for a job, of course there is that one person or two people that have to be hired. Why not that one person that is being pushed to apply? Why can't they be that one person that gets hired? Let me tell you something. There are only so many times that someone can get turned down and have that hope of being the "one person" be squashed before they can hope no more. If they are not the "one person" too many times, do not get upset at them for not trying, for not understanding.

I have been told three times in the past two weeks that I need a job, that I need income for my monthly expenses and for work experience. I have been told this since the fall. Yes, I may have set aside applying for jobs to pay better attention to my studies, and I may have set this aside for the reason that I did not know where else to apply. Sorry, my mistake. I guess that all of the stores that I didn't apply to must have been hiring. Silly me for thinking that all those places that I applied to might actually need someone like me to fill whatever space they need filled at their store.

And what about the grades? In the past, I've been a pretty good student, I think. I got mostly As and Bs in high school, and my school can be considered as having a rigorous curriculum. Maybe not the greatest, as I have had moments where I simply do not give a damn about my school work due to some factors in my life or because I absolutely hate the subject I am working on, but I try. And in those moments where I do not try as hard for aforementioned reasons, I realize the need to work harder and I apply that reasoning to the other classes that I am involved in. I failed my first class this quarter. And I don't mean I got a D and am whining about having to get a better grade, I mean I got a full-on F in a history class. I hated it. The teacher was hard, the assignments were ridiculous, the mid-term and final were 5 essays and closed note. I hated it. And when I found out that I failed the class, I told my mom when my grandma was nearby. My grandma asked my mom later if it was my boyfriend's fault and said that maybe I wasn't ready for college yet. I'm crying as I right this because I cannot believe that someone would think that little of me. It hurts me inside that my own blood would call me unprepared and too immature for college. Of all the people that could have said this, her voice was not the one that I expected would say these words. That is what college is about, learning to make mistakes and deal with the consequences. She thinks that my mom is too soft on me. Two minutes later, my mom talked to me for the third time about the importance of getting a job and working 40 hours a week this summer, plus maybe a few more hours on something else like volunteering. As I said before, multiple attempts at forcing something into someone's head can be hazardous to one's attempts to fulfill the expectations placed upon a person.

Expectations can be looked at in different ways, though. People expect to look at their family and recognize who they are. People expect to have their family members look at them and be recognized. This is usually one of the more common and easiest expectations to achieve. Usually. I had a dream two years ago that my grandfather had a stroke and didn't know who I was, though he knew that he was expected to know me. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's not long before that, so it was a dream that made sense and frightened me. Two days ago, my dream came true. Not the stroke part, thank God, but I laughed at something, and when he looked at me, I knew that he did not fully understand who I was. There was something in his eyes that told him that my presence was okay and that it was understood that I had a place in his home, but if I were to ask him my name, he would not have answered correctly. He would have covered it up saying "Love" or something silly and laugh about it, thinking that I had been fooled. He's like that sometimes. Through everything that he has lost, he still has his humor and his nature that wants to protect the dignity that he has left. I don't expect that he will be able to do this for much longer. And I don't expect that many others in our family do, either.

I expect to be in a loving family. We have always been close, my sisters and I, and our family has always been able to see my dad's and my mom's sides of the family. But there have always been issues on both sides. Two of my mom's sisters haven't spoken in nearly seven years. My dad's sister and my mom have had issues for some unspoken reason, and I do not think that the reason has been resolved. My mom and my dad have had troubles communicating since I was at least eight years old. These troubles have led to more than one argument in the past, some of which end up with my dad not speaking to my mom because she has not apologized for whatever crackpot thing he believes her to have done. One of my aunts will not allow her sister's children, her niece of 15 and her nephew of 13, attend her daughter's wedding this Saturday. My mom's sister-in-law was upset at my mom for asking to dismiss blood tests for my aunt's dying mother because they were not as important as they had been six months before, when the shots had been ordered and when my grandma was still healthy. One of my sisters moved out several years ago because she could not stand living with my mom for a few more months after her high school graduation. I hate expectations sometimes. They put undue stress on the subject that is expected to do something, and no one lets that person forget what they're supposed to do until they achieve that "something." I hate stress.

But what can I say? I'm not the type to go tell people to shove of because they've told me something a hundred times already. I can't go up to my mom and say, "I know about needing a damned job. How about next time ask where I've applied? That would be a less frustrating reminder that I don't have a job yet." It would be great to be able to tell people what I'm feeling instead of writing it all down all the time, but I can't do that. Not to my family, not to my friends, not even to strangers that I will never see again. I don't know why I am this way. It sucks. It creates more stress for me. I hate stress. I hate this economy. It makes people frustrated when they need a job, any job, when there is no job available to be had. It makes parents upset at their teens, it makes parents upset at their spouses, it puts people out of their jobs. I hate this economy, I hate stress, and I hate expectations. This is what this word means to me. What meaning does it have for you?