Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great Expectations

I love squirrels. It's so funny to see them eating or to watch them gather food. They're so sneaky! And they always watch you, ready to bolt if you take a step near them. Or maybe even ready to pounce. They always look so on guard. It's cute, but funny because, of course, I'm not going to hurt them. I'm just going to walk past them. But the squirrels are thinking about what I could do and what I might do and instead of enjoying their little snack, they expect the worst and are poised for a fight. Their tiny hearts beating fast. I walk past these silly squirrels every day. Don't they know me by now?

I've been thinking all day about expectations. Someone gave me advice this morning not to have them, but that's actually quite difficult. She first told me that if I think the worst, that's what will happen. I thought it was better to have low expectations and be surprised than to have high expectations and be disappointed. But she said, "No. Don't have any at all."

All day those words have been tossing around in my head. I have such an active imagination. And I think a lot. That sounds odd, doesn't it? "I think a lot." Sure, everyone does, but I have too much going on in my head sometimes. So for someone who's always thinking, is it possible not to have any expectations?

I decided to look up the novel Great Expectations because it seemed to be on point with the word of the day. I never read it, never a fan of Dickens and his I-get-paid-by-the-letter ramblings. But I found a couple good quotes that may shed light on the day's query.

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.

That's an appropriate one, I think, because it's essentially saying to base your expectations on evidence. Just look at the facts, and don't read between the lines. Focus on right now, this moment, and not what could happen tomorrow or what could be.

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching…I have been bent and broken but - I hope - into a better shape.

I think that one is interesting because she says that even if something bad happens, it helps you grow. I strongly believe the good and the bad equally make us who we are. So whether I'm surprised or disappointed, whether something good comes or something bad or nothing at all, it will teach me, and I will learn, and it will become a part of me. Also, thinking about what I think will happen is futile because thinking alone never changed the future.

The book is about a boy who has "great expectations." Throughout the course of his life, he learns that not everything is as it seems, he learns to fend for himself and that it's important to help others because everyone deserves kindness. And from beginning to end, no matter what, he never gives up hope. And everything works out for him after all. His great expectations didn't hurt anything and were even right. Of course...that is fiction...

Sure, if the facts are telling you to be on alert and defensive, then that's the smart thing to do. But there's no need to let our imagination take the fun out of our little snack. There's no need to form an opinion about the unknown. Watch and listen, but don't forget to breathe and eat up the moment. Mmm!


template by suckmylolly.com