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Great expectations

It’s a new year and with every new year we have new and usually hopeful expectations of the year. I know I found myself repeatedly saying to my friend at the end of last year- “Next year is going to be better than this year!”. We create our new year’s resolutions to help us ensure the new year is better – whether it’s to improve our health, our finances or whole stream of other things – we look forward to the new year with great expectation. What will this new year hold? A new year and a new me – transformed!!

What struck me last year is we create many great expectations through life some knowingly and others unknowingly – but it’s inevitable for us to dream, hope and expect better things to come; nothing wrong with that?! It’s great to live with hope and a sense of good expectation but what happens when our expectations aren’t met??

On New year’s Eve I decided to get the year started with completing another one of my thirty things – it seemed fitting to try a gin and tonic! The gin and tonic as a drink as become the ‘IT’ drink of recent and EVERYONE seems to be having them and raving about the drink. You can set up monthly gin subscriptions, have gin tasting evenings & even go and make your own gin. I was excited about my first gin and tonic and had high hopes for what I was about to experience. I wondered whether new year’s eve was a special enough time/scenario to complete this item and drink the drink of the year!!! No time like the present – I had good company and why not start the new year off with a great drink (we even added an umbrella to add that extra special touch!!!) I sat on my friends comfy sofa with drink in my hand preparing myself for a beautiful experience. I waited for my friend to finish preparing hers and as we sat together I took my first sip and………. It was alright. It wasn’t horrible; it wasn’t something I couldn’t finish but it wasn’t something I wanted to rush and try again. My great expectation wasn’t met. I felt like I couldn’t include it as one of my thirty things anymore because it wasn’t this amazing experience I had expected but it was still something new that I hadn’t tried.

It made me realise how often I do that to myself;

I have these amazing expectations of situations, events, experiences that more often than not don’t meet their expectations. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have great hopes, aspirations and expectations but I think we should be careful how much we depend upon those hopes and dreams in giving us a great life!!

A great friend of mine pointed out something really eye opening a while back that has really stuck with me. She mentioned about the perfect picture she had set aside in her mind of what family life and her life would look like; of course due to one thing and another that perfect picture and expectation of life has not been met and it leaves you feeling blue and in my case can make you feel like a failure. It’s those perfect pictures that create our great expectations but the notion of ‘perfection’ usually always sets us up for disappointment and failure!!!

Without meaning to our great expectations and perfect pictures place high pressure on ourselves but also those around us. Take Christmas as an example; I LOVE Christmas – the feeling it gives me is just so special. Christmas is always something I look forward to. However I always create a perfect picture of what my Christmas will be like. The perfect picture of Christmas requires things and people to slot into the ideals I’ve created. The people require being in good moods and of good health to fully enjoy and enter into the great events in my head. Holding on too tightly to this picture perfect scene is the problem because no-one else is in tune with my perfect picture. The lorries that deliver the veg may not deliver enough; the weather may mean we can’t get to where we had planned to be; the children were up all night and now everyone is tired and moody; I’m ill and find it hard to take part. So many possible uncontrollable things can ruin the perfect picture of Christmas.

It’s not erasing these pictures or expectations (it’s good to have something to aim for and hope for and work towards!) But we need to make our pictures and expectations looser. We need to allow for the unexpected changes, the uncontrollable events that are inevitable in life. We need to know that some things will only be just ok – not great but not awful just ok.

What I’m hoping to do is instead of creating these perfect pictures of the future is to simply remind myself that there will be moments of great sparkle and beauty in my life; have great expectations without fixing them to an ideal or to a specific thing. So often we are blown away by the unexpected little moments in life, we have a completely unplanned day which becomes a treasured memory – the reason those moments are usually the greatest is because we didn’t attach a great expectation with a perfect picture we just simply created that perfect picture in the moment!

So this year of 2018 hasn’t started off great for me but that doesn’t mean I should expect a bad year. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect anything from the year and instead just look forward to the mini unplanned treasures of this year which I’m sure will occur. I have great expectations for those mini surprises.

Look out for your unplanned treasures this year and make a note of them when they happen, so at the end of the year you can look back upon the many treasures of the year rather than the great expectations that were lacking!