Striking a Balance (seems impossible, just saying.)

Something my therapist told me to consider was that I am way too hard on myself. I set expectations for myself and when I fail to achieve a goal it gets me down - like really down. I know she's right about this, but I have no idea where the habit came from and when.

To be frank, no one ever had expectations for me when I was growing up. Because my mother was at work for the bulk of my formative years and my father was completely out of the picture by the time I was 2, the responsibility of "raising" me fell onto a number of babysitters. I don't remember a lot about them, because there were just too many, but most of them were stay-at-home moms. I know there were a number of Newfies, and that one of them had dentures and it freaked the shit out of me when she whipped them out... I digress.

The problem with being raised by these babysitters is that all of them had their own children to pile their expectations onto. Sis and I were simply around for extra income, not to be parented.  I didn't know any one expected me to get a diploma, find a career, and/or make grand-babies for them one day. Looking back as an adult who set these expectations for herself, this actually sounds like bliss. 

I mean, yes, I knew one day I was going to have to fend for myself and I figured getting a diploma and not having to work at McDonald's was good idea. I scraped by with the bare minimum of actual academic courses but managed to graduate with 130 credits because of all the art electives. I even went to college (or a "mish-mash of bullshit lessons I will never use") for a while. I had a string of piddly jobs that payed my rent and supported my extra-curricular activities, but they were nothing to write home about. It's actually kind of a miracle I even got that far as I had virtually no encouragement to succeed or threat of punishment if I failed.

So where did this habit of setting not just goals, but pretty damn hard ones for myself come from? Why do I all of a sudden have an imaginary deadline to hammer out the details of my career so I can buy a house all while trying to find a suitable mate and pump out children before I turn 35 (because, for some unknowable reason, I am now aware that there are potential health risks when you have kids after a certain age)? Am I unconsciously competing with my peers, or are my hormones telling me this just what I need to do? 

I don't know when I started giving any fucks about these things, but it's confusing and frustrating. I am a creature of extremes, you see: toeing a line between any two things is damn near impossible for me to do. I'm really going to have to work hard to strike a balance between wanting these things and being OK if I don't get them when/how I want them, I guess.

... oh, God. Did I just set another impossible goal for myself?


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