By Katrina Liu

When you imagine your life one year from now, five years from now or 10 years from now, what do you see? Would your 15-year-old self have predicted where you are today?

Chances are, as you’ve gotten older, you’ve dreaded those questions, because who honestly knows? We never thought a pandemic would come, so how can we predict anything else? Is there even a point to imagining what your life could be like?

I personally tend to lay low and just keep working. Having high expectations for yourself is great, but sometimes you need to lower them to keep yourself sane. Unfortunately, we live in a society where disappointments are part of the norm. In fact, we almost expect disappointments more than accomplishments. We are more comfortable reacting to setbacks, because throughout our lives, we are taught and forced to expect mistakes more than triumphs.

I’m not saying this is always a bad thing. Mistakes really do make us better people. But why do we tend to be more surprised when something good happens or when something actually goes our way for once?

Some may argue that this mentality of “always expecting less” is better. Perhaps the smaller wins keep us more satisfied. If you lower your expectations for yourself, doesn’t that lessen your chance at disappointment?

I used to strongly live by that mentality, but I’m not so sure I do anymore.

Sometimes — just sometimes — things happen exactly the way you pictured in your head.

Sometimes, one of your dreams that seemed impossible does come true. I would know — it’s happened to me.

I’ve experienced things I thought only happened in movies: I got accepted into a university I didn’t think I could get into, I have been moved by films and stories in ways I never thought possible and I have received rare compliments on my work from people I admire.

Even when your friends do their duty and hype you up, it can be hard to believe you deserve good things.

But you do.

It’s not always healthy to live in your own world, and this is coming from someone who lives in her head and daydreams all the time. But be loud and proud about those dreams. Don’t keep them in your mind.

Because sometimes it’ll all work out. Sometimes, it’ll be exactly how you imagined it would be.