Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great Expectations


In the course of time, as busy as we are with our lives, we seldom get to spend time with ourselves and deal with the things that bother and affect us.
I suppose the ability to be introspective, concerns probably those who have a great deal of time on their hands. Since introspection requires solace and solitude, which in today's day and age has turned into quite a rare commodity.
Nevertheless, I on the contrary having been blessed with the gift of time(courtesy my still on going post exam vacation) and at the same time cursed, to not utilise the time given to me judiciously, have ample opportunities, to dive into my subconscious and focus on all the aspects that bother me so.
I cannot mediate, and I never have been able to do so, since time immemorial. Nevertheless, I do go into a strange absent minded trance that does sneak up on the most unexpected of occasions. Be it while driving, or while watching television, or even in a seemingly interesting conversation with someone. Giving the impression to the third party observer as if I'm some sort of retard who continues to stare open mouthed, long after the conversation is over and done with.
Nevertheless, personal observations aside, I suppose I ought do dwell into what I intend to speak about. Introductions have never been my forte, and I tend to beat around the bush trying to come to the topic I wish to speak about. And as a consequence some topics seldom end up being presented the way I "expected" them to.
And here's the deal.
Disappointment following expectation.
Its human nature to expect. Expect favours, expect adoration, expect respect, recognition, gratitude, etc. And its when those expectations fail to meet our set standards, that's when we do get disappointed.
The thing is, all of us have set standards, so as to how our lives ought to turn out. Standards set to determine the value of any given relationship. We tend to measure every aspect with our own scale, and end up disappointed when things seldom meet our expectations.
Not only, do we expect things from circumstance, but we expect things from one another also.
Friends expect constant mutual support, parents expect their children to grow up into paragons of virtue. Children expect support and security from their parents and lovers expect selfless sacrifice from one another.
While for those upon whom fortune has smiled upon, their expectations are met from time to time. But not everyone is that fortunate. Moreover one is often left disappointed on more occasions than one as a consequence.
I am no exception either.
Like all human beings I too expect a great deal from circumstance, and from those whom I believe are close to me. But for reasons beyond my obvious understanding, things have seldom turned out the way I wished them to. Leaving me dejected.

But here's the thing.
Some of the best things in my life have occurred when I least expected them to.
There have been tests I never expected good grades on, and yet scored well. There have been people whom I never looked to for anything, but nevertheless came through, during the most direst moment of my need.
And there have been prayers that were answered when I least expected them to, in the first place.
Just as failed expectations lead to dejection, unexpected incidents of good fortune lead to a great deal of happiness.
On a simpler note, there's a big difference between the happiness from an expected source and the happiness one gets from an unexpected turn of events.
Just like school kids who look forward to the weekend. But their joy is increased manifold when their school is cancelled on a weekday, due to say an unexpected heavy downpour.
Some of the best things in life come unexpected.
When I left for Russia,I never expected to meet friends who will make the six years of my academic life a breeze.
And I never expected them to help me in every which way possible. The experience was completely overwhelming.
I suppose that's how serendipity works.
When things occur when you least expect them.
Expectations are like price tags.
We tend to tag on a price for each and every one of our actions.
Say, "I supported my friend during his time of need, therefore its obvious that he will support me when I need him too", or say "we sacrificed everything for our children, so its obvious that they will do the same for us too."
If every action comes with a price tag of expectations, then I suppose all relationships eventually turn into nothing more than business transactions.
Then what's the point of it all?
Expectations exist. They can never be banished from the subconscious of human thought.
But it depends on how much importance we give to those expectations in the first place. Do we let things off easily, or do we live in a morbid fear and insecurity so as to what will we do when those expectations of ours fails to bear fruit?
Somehow in the long run I have learnt that having too many expectations from human beings is futile. Because lets face it. We are far from perfect. And try as we might, we might never meet the set standards of those who expect things from us.
Therefore, the best things in life is to keep expectations at a bare minimum.
And not turn life into a business transaction.
And if we do wish to do something good for one another, then it ought to be done without the price tag.
Theres no need to subject one another to a barrage of emotional debt.
And if we all realise that in good time, it will make living with one another a lot easier in the long run.
For some of the best things in life come without expectations and without price tags.