Wednesday, September 15, 2010

great expectations.

Considering my expertise on classic literature consists of owning the movie “Little Women” and the last book I read was written by Chelsea Handler, it’s odd that my post was inspired by (the title, not the actual content (cause I have no idea what the content is)) the Charles Dickens’s classic, “Great Expectations.”

I live my life by expectations. In my personal opinion/experience, there is nothing worse than a surprise. Even events or things classified as “pleasant’ surprises make me more uncomfortable than riding coach between potential candidates for the “Biggest Loser.” While I have always craved a surprise birthday party, I think I would be horrified if it ever truly happened. My luck, I probably would be just in from the gym looking like I was rode hard and put to bed wet or walking in with some embarrassing CVS and/or KFC purchase and be mortified that all of my friends saw my jumbo tampons and/or me about to dive into a Double Down head first.

From those of you with personal experience, whether we are en route to a restaurant I’ve never been to, planning a new vacation, or a party where I don’t know a majority of the guest list, you might as well be Batman talking to the Riddler. I’m big on details and what to expect at any and all events, big or small, so I’m full of questions to prepare myself. A new experience without well outlined details makes me believe it’s very likely I would be Elle Woods in that Playgirl Bunny outfit. I doubt I would handle such a shocker with such class and grace. I like to feel mentally prepared for just about any good or bad thing that could/will happen. It’s a matter of feeling prepared.

Unfortunately, the real Band-Aid in the burrito is that this preparation often leads to my self-determined disappointment. On a frivolous note, new albums from artists I’ve loved forever face a set high expectations that usually lead to me not liking an otherwise excellent EP. Even this summer’s Lady GaGa concert was mildly disappointing because I had all these preconceptions about how her show should go… I felt the same way about the Glee finale overall as well.

Parties, vacations, music, and TV are one thing, but I inevitably apply this same mental exercise to people. Whether it is family, friends, or a potential Mr. John Boerger, I drown my mental image of them with heavy layers of expectations that are based on everything from past precedent or limited, fleeting interactions. I mentally storyboard an unrealistic idea of how people should treat me, respond to my personality, laugh at my jokes, etc. It’s mentally exhausting and emotionally draining when I have to rationalize that people aren’t jerks just because they didn’t live up to my overreaching, idealistic expectations I set for them.

There’s a wildly reasonable possibility I’m nutty as squirrel s***, but I think (a.k.a. expect) that there are other people out there who unfortunately apply this practice to their lives as well… If you are one of those people who are constantly carefree, go with the flow, and live life fast and loose, I envy/despise you. Maybe it’s a product of my need to be in control, my self-prescribed borderline OCD, or the fact that I watch way too much TV and movies that live in a land of idealism/predictability, but I’ve got to snap out of it and just let life happen.

PS - In the spirit of full disclosure, that last part is NEVER going to happen. But just like when I tell myself to simply order just 1 Whopper instead of 2 when I roll through the BK Drive-Thru, saying is the first step towards doing. Right?!

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