Monday, July 17, 2017

What did you expect?

Sometimes, I didn't really have an expectation.  In the back of my mind, I might have had a notion of what he would be like or what the movie would be but often I didn't have a clear expectation.  I often hear things like "into each life, some rain must fall" or "you'll get some good days and some bad days." I often feel that whatever happens, it is a surprise and does not feel as though it is mundane or everyday.  

Suppose I get two rather flat, unexciting days in a row.  I didn't expect that!  Naturally, if I get two exciting days in a row, I didn't that either.  On just about every day, whatever happens, it doesn't feel as though it was what I expected.  Maybe I should start a record of expectations and fill out expectations for the next day before it begins.  I haven't tried that but I almost never have a clear idea of the next day's events.  So, I would be reluctant to make a prediction.

I could do something vague, like I expect there will be some sort of sunrise or dawn about 5 or 6 AM and darkness will probably fall in the evening.  I don't know if I expect straight sun or some rain or a mixture.  I remember that Dan Gilbert's book "Stumbling on Happiness" and his TED talks explain that in general people have not been very accurate at predicting future happiness.  They are not as happy nor as unhappy as they thought they would be.  His idea is that generally when I think of winning the lottery or losing something valuable, I am not capable of broad and complete enough thinking to see all the parts of my life that will not be improved or, in the case, of a negative or loss, all the parts of my life that will not be harmed.  

Some researchers and surveys use the word "expectations" as in "Did we meet your expectations?"  I don't know what their data shows but in general, I don't have clear expectations before entering a store or opening a magazine.  If I didn't have some idea that it would be useful or profitable or pleasant, I wouldn't enter or begin.  But I certainly didn't expect the current Time magazine to do such a good job explaining physical practices like yoga or weight lifting as benefits, even when sensibly practice lightly.  I didn't expect a page written by the current dean of the Yale Law school on the training that lawyers get that gives them open minds and flexible thinking habits.  I didn't expect to have to drive out into the country to retrieve a phone from people we had never met or heard of.

Most of the time, I don't know what I expected but it wasn't what happened.

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