Life: Expectations vs. Reality

Most any cop can tell you that the space between expectations and reality is where crime is created. If a child is raised expecting to live well and is thrust into a world that does not give them opportunities, sometimes crime is the result. If one person in a relationship expects one type of behaviour and the other expects something else – crime is often the result.

Crime occurs when reality does not meet expectations

New Agers, thiose woowoo people I count myself among, spend a lot of time trying to reconcile the space between expectations and reality. There’s room there for a lot of anger, a lot of passion and desire. You can try to cure the anger by releasing expectations, or feed desire by selling lots of Law of Attraction books that have pretty much missed the real point of the workings of the Universe. It’s not to get you a big house and a fancy car, folks – although if that’s what you really want it will get it for you – it’s simply to bring to you what you want and need the most. That which matches the vibration that you put out.

Of course, the LOA methods do work and in time you might realize that you want the big house and fancy car less than what you really want – security. If you can succeed in lowering your expectations to meet your reality, you will find the space between squeezes down to happiness, contentment and satisfaction rather than disappointment.

We make “lowering expectations” sound like it’s a bad thing. It isn’t. We can raise all our children saying, “You can be President if you want someday” but the truth is there is only one President every four years or so for 328 million Americans. So 327,999,999 kids grow up to be something else. That’s not a bad thing. The world needs fry cooks and maids, too.

There’s another thing about expectations and reality. You may expect having a big house and a fancy car and a six figure income to make you happy. It can – if you have set yourself to be happy. It can also be the source of lots of unhappiness. The roof leaks on the house and the taxes are brutal and the big car needs a miniscule repair but the garage charges a fortune because the parts have to be imported and you spend so much time and energy making those six figures that you get home and collapse in bed for four hours and jump up and start it all again until you die young of a stress related disease. You sure that’s what you wanted?

Ooo – ooo – you remember this one? The “Make Money on the Internet” ads of beautiful people sitting on the beach with drinks with little umbrellas. Yes, you just set up a website and the millions roll in and you don’t have to work at all! Yes, millions of people believed that one – expected it, only to find the reality is you work 18 hour days and make a pittance if anything. The way to get rich on the Internet is to sell people your scheme for getting rich on the Internet. πŸ˜›

Yeah this isn’t actually quite how working on the Internet worked out for me…

It’s like the Rollin Stones said. You don’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find, you get what you need.

Any time you are angry, even a little bit, stop and think about it and you will be able to see that the cause is probably in that space between expectations and reality.

You expected A, and you got B. Often, it’s not an unreasonable expectation. You paid for A, you ordered A, by golly Amazon should have packed A in the box and got it to you. But the clerk was having a bad day, a hangover or just a bad mood and didn’t pay attention and stuck B in the box and shipped that to you. Maybe it’s not even their fault, because B was mislabeled by some other clerk and had A’s barcode on the box. Remain calm. Amazon will fix it and if you get angry on the phone with them they’ll hang up because we can’t hurt the customer service persons feelings by being angry that their company fucked up. I admit, I have a particular problem with that anger. (You can tell, right?) I expect people to do their job correctly and in a timely manner. That is, apparently, an outrageous expectation these days. It seems like I am considered to be more at fault for expecting a minimum of efficiency than the company is for fucking up. I find that a bit confusing. Back when I started working if you fucked up you got at least a dressing down and could easily lose your job. Now it seems like the employee fucks up and it becomes my fault somehow. The customer is always wrong. I remember one of my first employers telling me the customer is always right, even when they’re wrong. Nod, agree, and make them happy – even if what makes them happy is calling you all sorts of insulting names. You had to take it, and grovel. I’m glad employees don’t have to take that shit anymore. But there has to be a middle place there where the customer IS right, the employee did fuck up, somebody has to apologize, take responsibility, and fix things. Generally, I’ve noticed, an apology is way too much to ask for and I’ve had to adjust my expectations to only having the order corrected.

The world has changed around me – and that’s one of the things that often causes that space between expectations and reality.

I need to adjust my expectations – and remember to be truly amazed at having the world on my desktop (or even in my hand but I haven’t adjusted to using the phone for everything yet – maybe never), quickly finding what I need, and ordering it and having it arrive the next day. I might not have even gotten dressed to answer the door yet. It’s really pretty cool. I really hate to shop for boring necessities and it is nice to be able to put A in a search engine and find it in minutes instead of drive from store to store hoping that somebody has what I need within a reasonable distance of my house. And that reasonable distance can be curtailed a lot when you don’t have a car or money to pay Uber to run all over town. Or even Uber. Remember when we didn’t have Uber? You had to walk, or ride the bus, or pay a fortune to go in a cab. Cabs were iffy. Some cabs, and cabbies, were really nice. Sometimes the drunk in the cab before you had puked on the upholstery. Some cabbies would drive you around your elbow to get to your asshole and you’d discover your $12 ride had somehow magically ballooned to $50. Talk about the space between expectations and reality! I haven’t been in a cab in years but I bet they haven’t changed much.

HEY I am NOT THAT OLD

Anybody remember Andy Rooney? I think I’m beginning to sound like Andy Rooney. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I liked Andy Rooney. I’m not that good though. But I notice my writing style has changed. Used to be very tight, to the point, professional. Now I ramble. Meh. No one’s paying me. I can spend all the time I want wandering around a subject and poking at it.

What were we talking about again?

4 comments

  1. That was quite insightful and it actually sounds a lot like my psychlogist is teaching me. I would like to argue that there is one argument you might be missing though, That is the element of dreaming. Keep your dreams big, but keep your expectations low! There is nothing wrong with wanting a big house and a six figure income… as long as yo don’t expect it. Those are hard to balance but dreams can offer motivation to push beyond to keep growing and the pursuit of happiness is a form of happiness as wel I think.

    For example take my Vtuber dream, I of course dream of being a hit on the internet, I will try to achieve it.. but the expectation is that I will just have a creative outlet that MAYBE at best will allow me to pay for my hobby. The aim for me in life at least is to always make Reality happen in between my low expectations and my dreams.. which will result in a sense of “overachieving” as if there is hope for that dream. I just have to guard myself of making that dream my next expectation.

    I think WordPress is a big pitfall for this. I wanted to create a community like a group of people that made me happy, I kinda got that.. but then I wanted more interaction and be more me.. less safe, that dream became my expectation and it went a bit wrong.

    I do not think having expectations is wrong either, like when you ordered that jacket.. that turned out be just a sloppy print job. I can see how anger from that would lead to crime though..but you let that anger go quickly. Arguably they would say there as a crime committed in you talking bad about them, but still you vented.. and I think that is a big thing as well. Life IS unfair, even with low expectations life will not always treat you right, no one expects there mother to die tommorow and is glad for every day she lived after. We always expect everyone to outlive us (even if we say we don’t expect that) to an extend that applies to so much more , I do not buy a lottery ticket expecting to win.. but on some level I do..

    I think when a dream is not met.. that is fine… but when an expectation is not met.. we feel robbed.. and that small sentiment easily leadds to .. .but IF I was robbed… than it is okay for me to ROB (blank) as well.. it’s only fair after all. But that is because we expect life to be fair and balanced… and sometimes it is just not

    1. That last paragraph is the perfect summation of all my meandering.

      I hope I didn’t come off as saying don’t dream, don’t hope. I didn’t mean to. It’s a delicate balance to be able to dream and hope and have goals and ambitions but also the internal fortitude to deal with it if they don’t come true. Garth Brooks – one of the very few country singers I actually like – has a wise song named Unanswered Prayers where he says sometimes life’s greatest gift is unanswered prayers. Because sometimes on the journey to your dream goal, you find something else that is actually more better for you – that you might never have thought of. I guess the trick is to dream, have goals, but still be open and let the Universe work out how – and if – to bring them to you. I know the Universe has brought me some real delights in my life that I wouldn’t even have thought to ask for. Like you πŸ˜‰

      We don’t always get to choose what comes to us and what doesn’t, but we do choose how we react to it. As you mentioned the coat, yes, I ranted and vented for a few days, threw it up in the storage area and ignored it for a few weeks, and finally just hung it up outside for someone to help themselves to – who wouldn’t have the baggage of the expectations, who could appreciate that it would be a good robe or something to sleep under. Thereby (I hope) turning the energy from negative to positive. The thing we need to learn is to handle the anger in a positive manner and release it in a positive manner. Rather than thinking, I got robbed, I’m mad, I’ll rob someone else thinking and do I got robbed, well I’m mad, I’ll vent and hopefully keep them from robbing someone else maybe, and if I were a better person who didn’t hold onto emotions – I’ll wear this as a robe and love it anyway πŸ˜› I’m 62 and I still have some maturing to do LOL

      And you know what – I’ve had a few winning lottery tickets, and even won on the slot machines in Las Vegas! (Like $20 but hey!)

      “The aim for me in life at least is to always make Reality happen in between my low expectations and my dreams..” Now there is wisdom

      One thing that has often led people to critisize some decisions I’ve made is that from the minute I fell deeply in love with my hubby we have always known that he literally could die tomorrow. I married him when he was 22 – which was about how long he was expected to live. (30 years ago nyah nyah nyah) It has really shaped our lives. We tend to “go for it” because maybe there won’t be a tomorrow for US. You make different decisions from that perspective. Like I said, some of our decisons have been critisized by people who maybe don’t live under that situation – but as you point out – really everyone does live under that. You don’t know, when you leave the house in the morning, if you’ll be in some accident and never come home again. Or your loved ones might. I’m not saying you need to dwell on it or obsess over it – we don’t – but you should go forth and live and have a good life and be sure and tell people you love them and appreciate them RIGHT when you are loving and appreciating them. And we might all be happier…

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