Do you know that you are a gift? Do you know that your life is a gift? If reading this causes resistance within you, keep reading.

Some beings are such obvious gifts: your loved one, your children, a puppy or a really cute baby. Sure thing, clearly a gift, check! An easy tell is that seeing them fills you with happyness and transports you right into the here and now, no matter where your mind was just moments before.

Simple. Presents we know, great presents we recognize. They make us happy, so we know what’s what.

But who do I make happy just by existing? And if my life is a gift to myself, why does it feel so bad so much of the time? Is it a design fault in me? Did I go wrong somewhere in the middle? Did I get the whole living-my-life thing totally wrong somewhere along the ways?

I don’t want to see my life as a gift because it doesn’t fulfill my expectations. That’s not how I visualized it. I’d imagined it bigger, better, more important. I’ve given so much and fulfilled so many expectations, with impossible standards regarding myself, because I assumed that life works that way.

You do things well, someone smiles or gives you A or pays you a salary or marries you or becomes your well-behaved child. That’s how it works.

Isn’t it?

Well, it doen’t look like it. Even though I don’t enjoy hearing that said than the whole gift-thing. Because, people, fulfilling expectations is SO MUCH WORK! And it’s never done. Really never. I kept thinking, not much longer, and the reward will be there. But by now, the first people my own age have died (I couldn’t say whether their expectations were fulfilled), and I’m beginning to feel pressed for time.

Expectations are an important part of life. If you don’t fulfill any, you lose your job again and again, friends, partners and your own children turn away in disappointment and you’re stuck all by yourself with your pride, your defiance and your petulance. Not a good solution either.

Anyway. Today I’m truly exhausted. It feels like an overwhelming burden, all these expectations for all those years. I am tired, I am frustrated and it all feels like too much.

However, there is a lever I can throw anytime I want to. And it’s called: accept the gift. Life with all of its faults and defects, yourself with all your imperfections, your hopes and the meandering path that led you here. Right now, life is a gift. Because you are reading something beautiful (like this blog). Because someone you like a lot is thinking of you. Because this day holds all the possibilities, even if they only consist of all the small things that you have the power to shape just the way you like.

You can choose what to do in your lunch break, and with whom. What feels good? You decide how to approach your work. Do you take on everybody else’s workload? Delegate. Do you procrastinate? Take a small first step. You know what you need.

So stop fulfilling what you believe is expected of you and take a reality check: what is possible? What is (really) your job? What is the worst that can happen if, say, an appointment gets postpoined because you can’t get a hold of someone? Let all the others do their job, even if it takes a little longer, or it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you would do it. It’s okay. It’s good enough.

Stop balking at possible expectations that only exist in your imagination and start seeing others with a mild eye: someone who wants to work with you or wants to raise children with you is not your enemy. He or she likes you and wants to share a part of their life with you. It’s a hand extended towards you. Take it and start walking towards the other one.

This is your moment. Go for it.