Expectations vs. Reality


By Janelle Hart, Staff Writer

Other than being a popular phrase used on Twitter and Instagram, “expectations vs. reality” is something that many people fail to recognize as a societal issue in the 21st century. As a creator myself, I think that growing up in a place where movies and social media are the epitomai of our lives puts a certain amount of weight on the writers and creators of our generation. We transition from kid to teen to adult while watching fairytales, or movies with fairytale endings, therefore putting unrealistic notions in our heads that fuel our hopes and dreams. When I see movies or read novels that have absurdly smooth plots, I question whether or not writers are helping or harming the futures of developing teens and children.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good happy ending. I, in fact, stand behind the idea that literature and film and television are places to forget real life and be someone else. However, people my age don’t know how to distinguish real life from the stories made to hit the Bestsellers List and dominate the box office. That is why my goal as a writer has remained constant from day one: to emphasize reality in all of my works. I wholeheartedly believe in stutters and forgetting words that are at the tip of our tongues and imperfect endings and awkward moments between all the drama. There are stories between stories that have yet to be told. And that’s the issue in today’s society. We aren’t exposed to the times that are too cringe-worthy or the in-between parts of stories that aren’t as exciting. Those are the parts that are the most real.

Expectations are a naturally-occurring thing. You can’t help but daydream in class or envision the future the way you want or, most importantly, dream. Dreams breed geniuses. Without them, who knows what life would be like? But there is also a balance between dreams and reality. It’s not that good things never happen, though if you expose your kids to things that are always positive and polished, that’s what they’ll expect when they are asked to live on their own. I think that one of the biggest heartbreaks a growing child can experience is the disappointment when their expectations are not met. There’s a certain wave of emotion that runs throughout their body. They become a bit more cynical, a bit more angry, at the world. That is why teaching them from the beginning that life is far from easy will make people more accepting of who they are.

All in all, I support dreaming. I support a good story to watch or read. I support shooting for the stars. Just as long as you know that it’s possible for things to take a wrong turn. That’s reality.