By definition, expectation means the act of looking ahead or anticipating. But how many times do we expect an event to go a certain way, and it doesn’t? Expectations can let us down, or someone or something can exceed our expectations. But, why in the first place do we have have expectations? Why can’t we just go with the flow and whatever happens happens? Maybe we expect because we have this need to think about the future and what’s to come. But, the future is unpredictable in the first place. Is it better to not expect anything at all and simply be surprised by the outcome?
I have two stories that involve expectations, one good and one bad. I prefer to hear bad news first followed by good news, hence I shall start with the negative tale. About two years ago I got in a fight with a then boyfriend over spending time with him over my friends and the little time we have together. I won’t go into nitty gritty detail because it’s personal, but we didn’t settle anything, and I was left with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach after we had talked and I had hung up the phone. Luckily, I was going out to eat with some friends that evening, and all I could think about was telling them what had happened, how I felt, and asking for advice. My expectation was that I’d feel better, be able to handle the situation, make up with my boyfriend, and all would be well.
My one friend drove me to the restaurant and we waited patiently for my other friend to arrive. I was shocked when my friend entered the restaurant followed by my boyfriend. What was he doing here? My expectations were shattered and the night proceeded to go from bad to worse. I had been looking forward to eating some delicious seafood, but I couldn’t stomach anything because I felt nervous and nauseous and upset all at once. My boyfriend basically ignored me, and my one friend kept cuddling up next to him. The entire night I barely said a word, and I couldn’t wait to leave. I had been expecting laughs, engaging conversation, and scrumptious food; I got none of that.
The next moment of expectation involves a past boyfriend as well. We had just seen a movie and we were sitting on the couch in my home. A text had failed to go through so my parents were upset with me; I was freaking out and nervous and I could barely sit still. My boyfriend was trying to comfort me and tell me all would be okay, but because I stress over everything, he couldn’t really comfort me and my manic nerves. Then after a jumble of words and questions, I ended up saying I love you. The moment had been nothing like I had expected. My expectation was that those three words would slip at an opportune moment when we were both giggly and smiley.
I like to think that it was for the best my expectations were not met. With regards to expectations I feel like we either expect the absolute worst possible scenario, or the idealized, best and most incredible moment. Do we expect somewhere in the middle? Maybe some of us have realistic expectations, kudos to those that do. I certainly do not, but maybe it’s better that way because I certainly am a fan of surprises. And isn’t life better because we cannot completely expect what will happen to us next and how?