Expectations I had for Peace Corps Service in South Africa:
* for it to be joy-filled
* for it to be physically difficult, but emotionally fulfilling
* that I would be able to use my self care skills to buffer stress and trauma
* that people would welcome me
* that people would welcome my help
* that people would welcome my perspective
* that people would welcome my ideas
* ***that I would be valued***
* to learn a language
* that I would make lifelong friends both in country and within the Peace Corps
* that there would be continuity in my service and my projects
* that I would love my host country
* that I would make a difference
* that Peace Corps would support me
* that I would be kind
* that I would be open
* that I would bring an empty cup
* that it would fulfill my dream
* that I’d be able to let go of him
* that I’d be able not to think about him
* that I’d be able to move on
* that people would value me
* that I could bring my skills to make a difference
* that I’d see interesting things
* that I’d love it
* that I had the grit to do it
* that I’d learn to stand on my own two feet
* that I’d be lonely
* that my relationships would shift
* that my relationships would change
* that my relationships would stay the same
* that I would be able to be here
* that I had everything I needed to do this
* that all the tools of healing and self care and introspection would serve me as I served others
* to grow
* to be a good person
* to be a good Volunteer
* to be an exceptional Volunteer
* to let go
* not to think about life in the US
* to be in the same place for two years
* to be hungry
* to not have access to food and others
* to deal with bugs, spiders, stomach issues and lack of sleep
* to feel in danger
* to be in danger
* to constantly fear sexual assault
* to bring my skills to Africa
* to grow as an individual
* to shave my head
* to learn a lot about yoga, personal development and all the topics I yearn to know more about since I’d have so much time to read, write and absorb
* to slow down
* to release expectations
* to be instead of do
* that it would go well
* that because I’d deferred my dream for 20 years and was finally leaping that now was the perfect time to serve in the Peace Corps
* that I wouldn’t miss my relationship
* that I wouldn’t miss companionship
* that I wouldn’t care that he moved on
* that I wouldn’t care that life in the States moves on (without me)
* that I would welcome rebuilding my life
* that people would come visit me
* that these 27 months would mean something
* that I would tangibly give back
* that I would curb the burnout I experienced as a social worker with my healing tools
* that I’d be proud of myself
* that I’d be proud of my accomplishments
* that I’d carry myself with grace
* that I’d represent myself well
* that I’d represent my country well
* that I’d get so attached I wouldn’t want to leave
* that I’d love working with kids
* that I’d teach yoga in Africa
* that I’d only need support a year in
* that I wouldn’t miss the States
* that I wouldn’t look back
* that I wouldn’t be safe
* that I wouldn’t be heard if something happened
* that the Peace Corps has a history of dysfunction and I shouldn’t have high expectations for support or being assigned to a site that matches my skill set
* that things would go well
* that I would struggle financially
* that my monthly stipend wouldn’t cover my costs
* that I was going into service without expectations
I’ve felt the weight of the world on my shoulders for the last year. In my new village, I feel the weight of trying to save a village, which simply isn’t realistic. Though I set out seemingly without expectations, here I listed 85 stream of consciousness expectations in a matter of minutes.
How often do we enter endeavors with the weight of the world on our shoulders?
How often do we pile on the to-do lists and endless expectations of ourselves until we are burnt up?
How can we free ourselves of the weighty, unrealistic demands we place on ourselves ranging from life changes to mundane, everyday tasks?
How can we, instead, grant ourselves grace and breathing room and ease and space?
I’ve felt the weight of the each of these 85 expectations and likely more I haven’t even listed. I vow to let these go. Right here. Right now. I want to make an inventory of expectations on a regular basis and let those go, too.
I don’t have to carry the weight of the world or a village or a person or a task on my shoulders, my mind or my heart.
I choose grace.
I choose breathing room.
I choose ease.
I choose spaciousness.
I burn expectations with the intention of grace and breathing room and ease and spaciousness, making room for what is, making space for what will be.
I let go.
I invite you to do the same. ♥
I’m actively processing my 27 months of Peace Corps service with a keen eye towards my emotional and spiritual journey. I bow in gratitude to you for joining me.
The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the South African Government.