Managing expectations may be one of the most powerful and beneficial tools you can develop in your day to day life. Unreasonable expectations can lead to extreme disappointment with respect to everything from relationships to movie choices.
For example, I went for lunch on Friday with my family. As is the case in many restaurants these days, there was an abundance of healthy choices on the menu to offset the old-guard burger and fries.
It seems I am increasingly swimming against the current of reduced caloric consumption when it comes to sitting down to eat with our health-conscious children. What, in the past, would have amounted to a fine flatulence-inducing feast, has become a discriminatory dietary deliberation. Grains of previously unknown origin are sprouting all around me.
There I was, at lunch, perusing the menu. Sitting between my son and my youngest granddaughter, I calculated my options. Thankfully, a hamburger and fries were on the menu and apparently the beef was grounded, in that it had come from a socially aware and privileged cow who seemingly was a valued stakeholder in the process of food creation. The only way I could feel bad about choosing it was that my granddaughter was looking up at me in a way that I interpreted to say she hoped I would live long enough to dance with her at her wedding. An event which was likely to occur once she had attained two or three degrees, created a not-for-profit cyber-organic corporation and cured cancer.
Perhaps, I should scan the salads section of the menu.
My son, whose opinion I value highly, landed on the curry bowl. That sounded intriguing. As I read the descriptor designed to induce salivation, an image began to form in my brain and my expectations began to gel.
A bed of natural brown rice infused with a green Thai curry sauce. In my vision, the bed was king-sized and coated with a wonderful blanket of spicy indulgence. There would be carrots and beets in the mix. I had never consumed curried beets before, so this would be a fun and filling adventure. The description didn't end there. It appeared that on top, they were going to throw a garnish of kale, avocado, green onions and a variety of seeds. I wasn't concerned about diverticulitis, so my decision and vision were both solidifying. The final inclusion was garlic tofunaise, which was a mystery to me, but garlic is always good, and my tastebuds and empty stomach were delirious with anticipation.
My expectations were high and growing until the moment a salad was placed in front of me. "I am so sorry," I rebutted to the waitress, but there must be a mistake, "I ordered the curry bowl," which I could clearly envision in my mind's eye.
"That's right," she replied. "Enjoy!"
Admittedly, there was a bit of lightly curried rice at the bottom of the salad, and overall, the meal was tasty and satisfying, but not nearly the fantasy my expectations had created.
Optimism is a wonderful part of life I would never wish to be without. The trick is to keep your expectations realistic in order to avoid disappointment and disillusion in the life and people around you.