Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Expectations, or Happiness...

This little something-something was given on Sunday evening, July 1, 2007.

I was thinking about expectations.

I have always thought that that there were two sorts of expectations.

There was the sort of expectations that you knew where unrealistic
Pies up there, in the sky.
Hopes and dreams for the far future.
Wishful thinking for a situation to be somehow,
Different than it is.

And then there were everyday expectations.
I expect to get up and have a cup of coffee before work.
I expect to go to work.
I expect to see a friend,
To do this or that around the house.
I expect for my dog to adore me,
For my child to greet me with joy,
For my spouse to be patient
For… well, you name it.

But when you start thinking about those categories…
Is it any more likely to expect your five year old daughter
To become a Nobel Laureate
Than to expect that your spouse will always be patient?

I was thinking about expectations.
I don’t know about you,
But when I can finally acknowledge that I have them,
They’re not terribly vague,
Neither are they terribly weak.
They’re specific, and strong and…

It turns out that I’ve been gambling
My present happiness for some future outcome.
Instead of simply existing right now
Right now
Doing whatever I’m doing
Being however I am
My poor unfocused brain
Is computing at a hundred miles an hour
Placing bets on the future
And then, God forbid, worrying about them

I haven’t finished the project yet
Will I finish it in time?
I haven’t called my mother today…
And so it goes, on and on.

But that’s not all.

I’ve been thinking about expectations.

Isn’t it funny how we blame our happiness,
Or lack thereof
On everything – absolutely everything –
Than the one thing that can decide
Whether or not we are happy,
Which is, of course, our own selves.

The butterfly may flap its wings tonight
In some jungle in South America
And two years later, next Tuesday
You’ll get married here in the City
And it will rain terribly
But not in the suburbs
And it will be terribly disappointing
But in twelve year, next Tuesday,
You’ll be able to trace it all back
All of your pain
All of your heartache
All of the marital trouble
All of the problem with the kids
You’ll be able to trace it all
Back to that terrible afternoon
Two years ago, next Tuesday
When it rained on your wedding day.

Isn’t it funny – in that dark, not actually humorous way –
How we are so adept at blaming everyone but ourselves?

Of course there is an alternative.
We could cut down on the expectations
With the ideal being that we cut them out
And meanwhile
Take responsibility for our own happiness
Or lack thereof.

Of course, that’s rather challenging.
It’s one of those things that is simple,
But not easy.
But the flip side is…

You’ll be happy.

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