COLUMN: Put down the expectations, breathe

Erin Roof

I was crying, slumped over, naked in the bathtub. The tears and the water washed away the paint from my skin. And I was pink and pale, once again. Silver water swirled around me, nudging me and reminding me I was still alive, no matter how I felt.

I hate Halloween. I fell and ripped my sparkling tights, and I smashed my ray gun into intergalactic bits. I was all too mortal for my superhero ensemble.

As I sat in the bath, I felt jaded and ripped-off. The holiday did not live up to the hype I set for it. I was not drunk enough, maybe. Nor was I pretty enough or funny enough.

Halloween and I let me down. Then again, I am always disappointing myself. I think if I could be talented enough, and if I could only win enough awards, and if I had people coming up to me every day to remind me that I am a good writer, then I could be happy. But I have these false securities, and I am still not happy, and I still place the brass ring just out of my reach.

I need to stop expecting so much from myself. After I graduate, will I cry if I don’t get the best job possible? Will I fall apart if I am not where I told myself I wanted to be 10 years from now?

I looked up today and noticed all the leaves are gone from the trees. Where had I been when they changed colors and floated into my past? I am still coming to terms with my dear summer being over. My new loves and long nights and skinny-dipping at 5 a.m. have been devoured by deadlines and working lunches and endless expectations.

Halloween is long over, but everyone has forgotten to take off their costumes. As I walk around, I see wilted princesses with mascara-stained cheeks and football stars with scuffed knees who just couldn’t make the cut. Everyone, it seems, is trying to be someone else – someone better.

Generation Y is afflicted with this working disease. As children, we were rushed from ballet class to math club to supper to bed. We had soccer practice Wednesdays and Saturdays and play practice every day in between. We were told to feed the cat, do our homework, get good grades and know what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives by the sixth grade.

Now we are grown-ups on Prozac. We have anxiety disorders, and we never sleep. We need to put down the books, job listings and expectations.

Stop. Breathe.

Look up at the trees.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].