We’re a demanding group of people; have you noticed? We want precisely what we want at the moment we desire it, hold strongly preconceived notions about how long getting what we want should take, how much it will cost, and how much effort it will require.
These expectations are so often fulfilled according to our exact wishes (hello, Prime shipping, GPS, et al.), causing us to treat expectations as guarantees.
But the world doesn’t run on Prime. The timelines for projects can–and usually do–shift. Unforeseen obstacles arise. Traffic happens. And if we have not consciously cultivated an ability to cope with things not panning out as we initially expected, we are doomed to be brought down by those changes.
It isn’t that we shouldn’t be allowed to hold reasonable expectations for the people in our lives. In fact, being able to rely on those we work or live with, in some capacity or other, is essential to healthy relationships.
Nor is it unreasonable to figure that our daily commutes will take as long as they normally do, that mailing a letter across the country will take as long as the USPS prescribes that it will, that hitting a career groove will tend to happen in one’s 20’s and 30’s, or that the watermelon, so carefully chosen at optimal ripeness, won’t be full of crumbly, mealy bits.
The key is to hold all of those, first and foremost, as desired outcomes. We can look forward to a given result occurring in a preferred amount of time. But we would be wise to consider such wishes as best-case-scenario, most favorable possibilities that the world may generously provide to us, but does not owe us.
Everything beyond that, hard as it may seem to a society of fortunate, spoiled, hopeful, humans, we leave to the universe to control. We acknowledge, even through gritted teeth, that life is unfolding at a perfectly synced pace, and that every moment is ripe with opportunity from which we can learn and grow.