great expectations

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And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.

ray wylie hubbard (via)

ex·pec·ta·tion. /ˌekspekˈtāSHən/ a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

expectations. i feel like they can get the best of us. well maybe not you, you probably have a healthy handle on yours. but as for me, well, let’s just say expectations and i have had a checkered past.

i had high expectations for my life at 18. i would graduate college with not only a bachelor’s degree but well on my way to earning an “mrs.” degree, too. by 25 my hypothetical ryan gosling and i would jump aboard the baby train and before becoming thirty, flirty, and thriving, i would have a brood of mini me’s to populate my cape-cod style suburban home. now, ten years later, it appears that perhaps my expectations were a tad bit on the lofty side. but i hate the phrase “aim low, avoid disappointment.” it’s always felt a little depressing, as if i’m not allowed to hope for the best case scenario because there is a fairly good chance that the outcome of the given situation will only leave me dissatisfied.

but the more i’ve experienced life in its entirety -its pits and peaks, and every elevation in between, the more i’ve come to realize the author’s original intent (or at least what i’d like to think his/her original intent was). i think it might have something to do with the planner in all of us- the one who jumps to conclusions and to chapter 58 when we’ve barely finished the prologue. when something is new and exciting and full of possibility, it’s easy to want to fast forward in time to 1, 5, 10 years down the road. we want it to pan out, for the pieces to fall into place, to have the happy ending we’ve been guaranteed in nearly every kate hudson and katherine heigl movie. or maybe it’s just me. but life isn’t so predictable, and not nearly as utopian. sometimes no matter how much we hope or will or pray for something to happen, our expectations fall short of our reality. and more often than not, our heart suffers as collateral damage. so maybe there is something to be said about taking a more realistic approach in terms of expectations, for entering a situation as more cautious than carefree. aiming lower doesn’t have to mean you’re settling, it can simply mean that you’re holding your heart a little tighter this go around.

on the flip side, though, i don’t mean to say that we are to ever stop dreaming. i think dreams and goals and hopes and desires are what keeps us alive, they fuel us and urge us to make more out of the time and resources we have been given.

so perhaps what it all boils down to it is to just go into things with the mantra that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. you can sit there and try to expect what is going to come next and how you’ll feel in two weeks or two months or two years. or you can approach the entire situation from a place of gratitude. that regardless of the outcome, you’re thankful for the opportunity, the experience, the moment, however fleeting it may be. life’s a trip, y’all. but it’s also a gift, so let’s learn to expect less and be grateful more.

gratitude > expectations = happy days.

bike ride

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