That’s not what I meant!

Have you ever noticed that we have preconceived expectations in our heads of how we thought things would turn out, or how things were made, or how people act? We picture things a certain way based on our life experiences, what we see others doing, whats seen on TV….etc. Then when it doesn’t go our way we tend to get upset. So how do we know what to expect, when really it is out of our hands? The answer is, we can’t. We can explain what we want, we can show what we want, but it will always be up for interpretation. That is where we get can get frustrated, or have the flip side happen and we get something that goes way beyond our expectations. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at some scenarios and see if we can find the positive in them:

  • Scenario # 1: A few weeks ago a dog was brought into the hospital I work at lethargic, not wanting to eat and was having bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. It had been going on for about a week but the dog would have a couple of bad days and then would seem to get better so the owner decided to wait it out. His expectation was that our doctor would do an exam, tell him it was fixable and maybe give him some medicine to help his pet. The doctor expected that the owner would see the severity of the situation and agree to do diagnostics so that he could figure out what was wrong with his pet. The pet was just excited that he got to go with his owner on a car ride even though he was tired and didn’t feel like doing anything. Two totally different expectations, the owner’s and the doctor’s. Neither was wrong but they were both based on the person’s experiences and knowledge levels. Luckily the owner agreed to have some diagnostics done and he was able to take his pet home for some rest and support through medicines.
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  • Scenario # 2: A few days ago my wonderful husband decided to make dinner. It was a dinner we hadn’t had in a while because let’s face it, my kiddos are quite picky and they usually don’t like trying new things, and lately it wasn’t top on my list to force new foods down their throats. To say I was a bit excited to have something other than spaghetti, stroganoff, or even hamburgers is an understatement. The kids expected the same dinner routine and were not super happy that they would have to eat something different than normal. We as parents expected them to eat what was on their plate. The time came, the dinner table set and the food was before us. The complaints were minimal (a lot less than what I expected) and other than the spinach in the salad they said they liked it. Will it always happen that way, probably not, but I can at least say this time what I expected did not happen and for that I am happy.
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  • Scenario # 3: This past summer my husband had to travel A LOT (3 month at a time). When we were planning for this new way of living I expected life to be as normal. Our kids were old enough to be home alone while I was at work, for the most part they are super awesome well behaved kids who are pretty easy going, and I figured that on my lunch breaks I would come home and hang out with them. I also expected that they would be nice to each other, help around the house and help with dinners on the nights I had to work late, oh and of course I expected when they got bored that they would play with the dog. Ok, so before you leave comments about me having really high expectations of the kids, I will tell you, you are right. I went into our new way of life a little bit blindly. I came out of the experience with a new sense of respect for my kids but also the single parents, military spouses, and any other member of society who take on raising kids solo for months at a time.
    • My kids expected that during the times that I was at work, they could be on the various devices in the house most of the day. They expected that there would be enough snacks in the house to feed an army. They did have rules set in place of when things should be done, but figured it was up to their interpretation. They expected that their summer would be laid back with summer camps, and camping trips sprinkled in to give them little bit of fun.
  • What we got was a menagerie of chores, simple dinners, bike rides to the store, camping trips, summer camps, phone calls from dad, soccer practices and games, fights between siblings, slightly stressed out parents, a dog that got played with, and a whole lot of expectations that were fulfilled and changed due to new experiences that took place.
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  • Scenario # 4: This past fall, I thought it would be fun to get my motorcycle license. This required that I take a 3 day course that included learning to ride a bike on a closed course as well as learning the rules of riding a bike in a classroom. I had never ridden a motorcycle before, but I thought “really, how hard could it be?” I expected to just get on the bike, take some directions and go. Little did I know how tiring it is to ride a bike, how hard it is to make tight turns, and that it can be a bit scary in the beginning to go faster than second gear when the person in front of you is just as nervous. I made it through the course, I aced the written exam but the instructor in charge of the riding portion passed me but made sure I knew I needed to practice more before I did any riding on the roads.
    • Fast forward a few months I was finally able to get my bike. To say I was excited was an understatement. Before I could ride though I had to get my gear. So off to the nearest Cycle Gear store to try on jackets, pants, helmets, boots and gloves. Man I was bursting at the seems with excitement! My husband and I got to the store and walked in, to be met with a blockade of tables. Social distancing at it’s best. I expected to go in try on gear and get all I needed to start riding. The store employees expected to keep working so they followed the procedures set by their managers and answered the questions we had and gave us info on where to get the best review online of the various items on our list. Do you know how hard it is to shop online for motorcycle gear when you can’t try it on first, or find a brand that fits? Let’s just say I see a lot of returns and online refunds in my future but I get it and I will adapt to our new way of life.
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So what are some expectations that you have? Do you find it hard to adapt? Has there been a time where you had something/someone go above and beyond your expectations? I have come to realize that getting upset because what I expected would happen didn’t isn’t worth it. I have been pleasantly surprised more often than not. I have learned new ways of doing things, I have been able to help people, I have been able to grow as a person. It is not always easy to take what you expect and throw it to the wind and go for something new, but it can be worth it. I would LOVE to hear your comments and if you like what you have read please share. Until next time,

“People look to time in expectation that it will eventually make them happy, but you cannot find true happiness by looking toward the future:

Eckhart Tolle

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