Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Expectations



I saw this pinned on pinterest a week or so ago (thanks Megan for pinning it!) and thought it would make a good blog topic. This quote is commonly attributed to the Bard, but it's not found in any of his writings. Regardless of who said it, it holds a lot of truth.

Most of us have expectations for the people in our lives, and we expect life events to go a certain way, especially if we've planned them. Having some expectations is a good thing - you don't want to be living with a vagabond fool spouse or endure crappy working conditions because you didn't strive for better - but getting too caught up in expectations is setting yourself up for disappointment. Having a baseline of how you should be treated is good - going off the rails based on unrealistic expectations is not.

To avoid disappointment and heartache in almost any situation, examine and adjust your expectations.

When things don't go how we think they should, we say "Why me?" or "It's not fair!"To the first point, why not you? To the second, it's my contention that nothing in life is fair - we all have a different concept of what fair is, and 99.9% of the time the universe does not provide a fair that two of us can agree on. We're not always going to get what we expect, or what we think we deserve. That's just a fact of life.

There's a quote by Jack London that says, "Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes in playing a poor hand well." Focusing on what we should have prohibits us from maximizing what we do have.

photo: thedailydeception.com

It sucks to feel let down by someone important to you. How much of that is them actually sucking at life versus you not being clear about what you need from them? People are not mind readers, and even though we think they should know what we need or want because they know us so well/long/etc, the fact is that sometimes we have to tell them. Now, if you tell them and they STILL suck, give them the boot. On the double.

Consider having zero expectations...

"If you expect nothing from anybody, you're never disappointed." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“If you expect nothing, you can never be disappointed. Apart from a few starry-eyed poets or monks living on a mountaintop somewhere, however, we all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives like some super-caffeinated energy drink.” 
― Tonya Hurley, Homecoming


That would be nice, right? But we all know that it's unrealistic to go through life with NO expectations. They sneak in the sides of our mind and whisper to us, beckoning us to believe and hope and expect good things. Being conscious of them and managing them is what's important, along with always knowing that you are the captain of your own ship. You can't expect others to fix things for you - that's your job. It's nice when they do, but don't depend on others to improve your universe. You are in charge of your life.



The sooner we learn that life isn't fair and things aren't always going to go our way, the happier we'll be. Going into something with little expectation is very freeing. You can be pleasantly surprised with a good outcome, and at the very least you'll appreciate the small things you miss when you're busy thinking about how things should be going differently. Managing expectations means less time wasted waiting for our desired outcome and more time being present and living.



The only person on this earth who is responsible for your happiness is you.  The moral of the story is that managing your expectations will increase your overall happiness.

When I say I'm going to my happy place, I mean here. Thanks for the pic Carol.  
The other moral of the story: eat your Wheaties. The Summer Olympics are coming.

Ciao.





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm a yankee doodle dandy


It's easy to point out many things that are wrong in this country, and what our government is or isn't doing that makes us angry. I'm sure many of us could gripe until the cows come home. 


Tomorrow isn't the day for that. July 4 is a day to appreciate what we have here, to celebrate the courage of our forefathers for securing our independence, to go swimming, to have a beer, to eat a hotdog, to wave a flag, and to watch some fireworks. 


Photo: anediblemosaic.com
Here are just a few of the things I love about my country and being an American. I hope you take some time over the Fourth to reflect on the things you love about America.

1. The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, Yankee Doodle - I am a true sucker for the patriotic songs. I will tear up without fail.

Photo: spiritof76dar.org
2. We're the home of the free because of the brave - the American armed forces have long been a source of pride for this country, heroes who provide defense and order and hope not only to us, but to people around the world.

3. Thanksgiving.

4. The hamburger. Cherry pie. Ice cream. Cobb Salad. Buffalo wings. Cheesesteaks. The almighty hotdog.

 "You look like the Fourth of July! Makes me want a hotdog real bad." 
                                                                           ~Legally Blonde II
Photo: imsuchateas.tumblr.com

5. That unique aura of Americanism. That pride. That America, FUCK YEAH attitude.

6. Disney World.


7. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

8. The Bill of Rights.

9. Baseball.


10. Our politicians may or may not be crooks who may or may not give a shit about us, that's always up for debate. Regardless of where you stand on that issue, we vote without fear of oppression or death. Many people on this planet are not so lucky.

11. Revolutionary War history. I love walking the streets in Philadelphia where so much risk was taken, so much put on the line for liberty. You can still feel the hope and fear of the founding fathers as they worked to declare our independence...and the strength of the women who were holding it together on their end.



12. College football on Saturdays. The Notre Dame Fight Song.

13.  The Brooklyn Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge (which I will see in person for the first time in just a few short weeks). The Seven Mile Bridge. Magnificent.

Photo: fla-keys.com
14. Our national motto - E Pluribus Unum - out of many; one.

15. When there is trouble, Americans come together. It doesn't matter what political table we sit at, we put it aside and take care of business. If there is an OH SHIT problem, you want Americans around.

Photo: ducksnarow.com
16. In this country, what you make of your life is up to you. No one is stopping you but yourself.

17. Lady Liberty.

18. The Rule of Law.

19. Bruce Springsteen. Rock-n-roll.

Photo: penetratingthevoid.blogspot.com

20. Our indomitable spirit and belief that our way of life should and will prevail. We may fall down seven times, but we will stand up eight.

Photo: abc-news.com

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
                                  ~William Jefferson Clinton


Happy Fourth of July! Don't lose a finger setting off your fireworks. 

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.



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