I used to be annoyed by other people's expecations for me. There are times when I still am annoyed, but I can understand it all a little better now (I think). If someone doesn't expect anything of you or for you, it's a pretty reasonable assumption that the person doesn't care anything about you.
A wife expects her husband to love her, to help her with things around the house, to take care of the children, etc. Likewise, there are things a husband expects from his wife. There are things a parent expects from their children, and there are things a child can expect from a parent. In school, teachers are expected to teach, and students are expected to study and do their school work. Expectations are not necessarily bad things. Expectations, however, can be distorted when someone expects something of another person that isn't a reasonable expectation.
The annoyance I have of other people's expectations is that sometimes people expect things of me that aren't something I've ever really wanted. In the past, I often made decisions based on what I thought other people expected me to do. The first time I went to college, I only went because it was expected of me. I drifted for two years, then dropped out for two years. I went back when I was ready to go. When I finally graduated college, I had accomplished the task I wished to accomplish. I wanted to learn, and I did. Some of my teachers', friends' and family members' expectations for me were to get a degree I could actually put to use. I didn't go to college for a degree; I went for an education. Even though five years later I'm STILL paying off the student loans, I don't regret it at all.
Some people expected me to use my degree to become a teacher (shudder!) or something similar. Still others have expected me to get married and have kids (as if I had a lot of choice in that matter). Others have expected me to move up in management in my current job at a drop-in childcare center (after all, I've been working there over four years). Others have expected me to abandon this ridiculous goal of actually trying to make it as a writer. They'd rather I do something practical... but I'm just not practical.
The thing is, anyone who expects me to be something I'm not isn't really helping me. At the same time, I realize that people who have expectations of what I should do with my life are only trying to show that they care. It saddens me that some of them don't know me well enough to actually realize they're hurting more than they're helping, but I do appreciate the fact that they care about me and what I do with my life.
But I'm a free spirit. I would stink at teaching, and I know I would stink at management. And if I'm happier chasing kids around at work instead of sitting behind a desk trying to do administrative stuff, who's to judge me? As for the marriage and family, I'm not sure what God has in store for that, and I'd be just as thrilled with anyone else if it happened to me. I'm all right if it doesn't.
As for the writing, I can give it up as easily as I can give up breathing. I know it's nearly impossible for someone who's never been published to get published. But I've got a couple of encouragements: 1. Book stores and libraries are full of books that were written by impractical people who were once unpublished--people who kept trying to do the (nearly) impossible until they succeeded. 2. If God is for me, then who can be against me. I believe He's called me to write and try this getting published thing. So I've got to keep trying, regardless of my doubts or other people's expecations.
People are still going to have expectations, and that's all right. I'm still going to be me. The ones that know me best are going to be okay with that. The ones that don't know me...at least they care. Their caring means a great deal to me.