If there is one thing that I have learned for myself that has truly made me happier, its that mustering up any kind of expectation whatsoever (unless completely reasonable and controllable… like being treated with respect) can be detrimental to the experience.
A few personal cases come to mind…
Like when I thought homecoming would be so great. But when he didn’t dance with me, and he didn’t talk to me, and she showed up when she said she wasn’t going to, and the punch was all watered down… and they didn’t play that song… Well, let’s just say I was disappointed.
Or that time when we went to the zoo, but it rained, and your mom picked you up early, and my cute outfit wasn’t clean, and we were awkward… Well, that was disappointing too.
But then I realized maybe if I had told you, “Hey, let’s go to the zoo, and your parents can pick you up whenever you want, and who knows what the weather will be like, but if its sunny then great! And if it rains we can stand under an umbrella together and be all cute! And its okay if we are awkward, because that’s how it is, and it will be different someday.”
What if I had just accepted the “now”? Instead of expecting a romantic, sunny, perfect day. Why didn’t I prepare myself for the unexpected? Did it not even cross my mind that it might rain? Did it not even occur to me that realistically, we had never hung out alone before, and it was going to be awkward?
Because after the let down at homecoming, I went to Cotillion anyway. But I went to Cotillion without anything in mind. All I knew was that I had friends who loved me, and I had a beautiful outfit that I loved, and that I am capable of having fun if I want to. Who cares what music they play? If I don’t like it, I can go get a drink. I came home from the dance with a huge smile on my face, realizing once and for all that no expectation at all is the best expectation to have.
Go with what you know. I’m not saying we shouldn’t dream. Dreaming is one of my favorite things to do. I am a dreamer. But there is a fine line between letting dreams take over, and having realistic dreams. Romantic dreams cause insanity. Realistic dreams come true.
So decide for yourself what is realistic and what isn’t. Nobody can categorize your dreams but you. No one can tell you what is unreachable. You decide what you will strive for, but make sure you know there’s a chance you might get there, and make sure you have a game plan, and a back-up plan, and a plan C, and a plan D…
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
— not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone
beyond her, beyond everything” -Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby