Sunday, August 1, 2010


Last time I came to Kenya, I came expecting absolutely no luxuries what so ever. I knew there would be nothing but pit toilets, no running water, and no electricity. This time, I knew that there would be internet, electricity, hot showers and real toilets that flush. You would think that after having already spent 10 weeks in Kenya before, without any of these luxuries, living with them now would be like paradise. But yet I still find myself grumpily rushing through my shower because the water is cold, cursing the Safaricom intermet modems when they decide randomly not to work and complaining when the power goes out temporarily because I can’t charge my laptop.

I realized while on the treadmill today how much impact our expectations have on our ability to enjoy life experiences. So many things in life are built up to be these monumental life events, and it’s this expectation that these experiences are going to be earth shattering and life altering that often make them so disappointing. Take New Years Eve for example. I can’t even remember a New Years Eve that wasn’t at least a bit of a disappointment. The entire night is all expectations; from how great the party is going to be, to what the entire next year will bring. New Years is just one example.

We are always expecting bigger and better. These expectations cloud our present and distort our reality. We get so caught up in our imaginations and lose sight of what is realistically possible and are then disappointed that some fairy tale fantasy didn’t actually happen. We have all fallen pray to our own expectations. Not only of events, but also of ourselves. We expect ourselves to be productive, smart, fit, thin, nice, generous, independent, and basically just better in every way all the time. No one can be any one of these things all the time, never mind all of them all the same time.

Even by having poor expectations, we taint the experience. We go into an event having already decided that it's going to be painful or boring or uncomfortable.

If we can teach ourselves to stop expecting, and to start just enjoying what we have right now, we may all be a little happier.

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