Expectations are a funny thing. We sub-consciously combine what we think might happen with what we hope will (or will not) happen, leading each and every one of us to anticipate something completely different. One hundred people could be going to the same event, yet every single one would be expecting something slightly different. It’s an unwritten rule isn’t it? Expectations are the epitome of Murphy’s Law: if you have high expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed. Does that mean that the opposite also applies? If you go into something with little to no expectation, does it pleasantly surprise you? I’m absolutely not saying we should therefore be all doom and gloom in the hope that things actually turn out better, it’s simply an observation.
Here are a couple of trivial, but perfect examples of how expectations accumulate, then turn out differently.
Recently, I took the same flight which I’ve taken a million times before. I normally wouldn’t think twice. But I had been suffering from back pain, so I was dreading having to sit in the one position for 3 hours straight. And considering the take-off time was 11am, I was only 4 hours into my day and hadn’t exactly tired myself out enough to sleep through the uncomfortable-ness (that’s a word, right?). Anyway, I got on the plane, checked my seat number and BAM, 31E. The back row, the middle seat. Ew! Worst row, worst seat. I sat down, wedged in-between two people and put my headphones in, hoping my array of Spotify downloads was enough to keep me entertained for the next 180 minutes. However, turned out the medication I was taking for my sore back kicked in; before I knew it, we were landing and here I was waking up from the best nap ever (for any Friends fans, it would have given Ross and Joey’s nap a run for its money). Low expectations, excellent end result (for those of you who don’t value a good nap and therefore don’t appreciate how good of an end result that is, you need to rethink things).
Contrastingly, my mum, my cousin and I all suffer from a thing called “get-too-excited-as-if-we’re-still-5-years-old-and-end-up-with-a-migraine-instead”-itis. What does this complex ailment consist of I hear you ask? I mean I’m sure there’s some kind of medical explanation involving excitement as a trigger and chemicals being released into our brains and blah blah blah, but since my medical knowledge extends as far as “stick a plaster on it” or “take a paracetamol”, I’ll stick to the layman’s description: it means we get so animated on the lead up to holidays, family reunions, parties or any other similarly exciting event, that we end up with a blinding headache. High expectations, disappointing (and sore) result.
Maybe the solution lies in removing our expectations altogether, or at least neutralising them. Maybe expectations are the result of overthinking at its best. Maybe I’ve gotten too in my head with this whole topic that I’ve gone and accidentally set such high expectations in my mind of how to end this blog post that now no ending I come up with seems good enough…