Our expectations of upcoming events set up how our reality unfolds…in a very real way.
“Are you looking forward to it?” This is what everyone says when I tell them our family is about to take off on a holiday to France.
And sure, we’re looking forward to being there. Yes, it’s going to be great….do I seem less than excited?
Hmm, I guess I do. But try as I might, I just can’t seem to get myself buzzing and leaping around with glee about our wonderful upcoming holiday.
Am I depressed? No, quite the opposite….I’m really quite happy and at ease in my daily life, so the prospect of flitting off on an amazing journey through France feels great and I’m so grateful we’re able to do it, but it’s not like I’m hanging out for it as an escape from ‘normal’ life.
Because my everyday life is pretty awesome (sorta like a holiday half the time), I’m not putting a stack of expectations on how our trip is going to give me a break from normality or compensate for an unhappy existence.
And that feels like kind of a relief because expectations can be problematic can’t they?
I’ve lived through some serious ups and downs (haven’t we all), and I’m learning more and more, that the less developed – or indeed completely absent – my expectations are, the better I end up enjoying myself.
When in the past I’ve built up a coming event to be the most fabulous, amazing time ever! I’ve often ended up feeling let down by the reality. Anyone else? It might be just my personality type, but I prefer the gently undulating ride of the walking pony to the thrills and speed of the galloping stallion.
Here’s some more context for you:
My husband and I set a goal back in 2012 to do an overseas holiday with our children every couple of years until our oldest has finished high school. So in 2014 I took a crash course in Airbnb and Rail Europe and we took a family holiday to Spain. It was wonderful. We saw lots of amazing places and enjoyed some really memorable moments together as a family.
But I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it’s not all sunshine and roses when travelling abroad as a family. Ordinary life has a habit of creeping in:
- We all came down with colds
- We had a few tense moments standing outside restaurants trying to pick a suitable venue for dinner
- We got lost trying to drive through the city of Malaga because we had no idea how to use the GPS (more tension)
- Sometimes we got tired of being around one another 24/7
- One night we had to create a meal from very little because none of the shops were open
Yes I know, it’s a feeble list of slight inconvenience and mild hardship. It was indeed a wonderful holiday with nothing much to complain about and also, it was just life for me, life in a fascinating, foreign-speaking, unfamiliar place.
We loved it and we were thrilled to arrive home when it was over.
So of course I’m looking forward to our holiday (in only two days!). I’m sure it’s going to be mind-expanding, exciting, wonder-filled and delightful. But it’s also going to be tiring, stressful and overwhelming at times.
My expectations are simple and vague…there will be a bed to sleep in, food to eat, people to meet, air to breathe and new sights to see. Beyond that, I don’t want to imagine and set forward desires. I just want to wait and see.
Hey, wish me bon voyage won’t you? And check out my Facebook page here for the photos next week.