We expect happiness. We expect sunshine after a stormy rain. We expect light at the end of a tunnel. Our life is full of expectations and eventually, it leads to disappointments. Even a foetus is not spared of the world’s anticipation. “It is a boy,” people say happily, conjecturing. Fortunately, times have improved. The demand for a boy is no longer as prevalent in this era although, at the same time I cannot exactly negate the fact that such expectations still exist. The moment the infant is born and if it is a girl, eyes fill with tears of dejection in a society which worships the birth of a male child. The so called ‘good news’ turns into something horrific.
Let us assume that the baby is born irrespective of its sex and there comes another rain of expectations. “Your baby will be a genius.” “Your baby will be an engineer or a mathematician.” Your baby this, your baby that. How about wishing the baby all the happiness in life and just probably, end at that but no, the loquacious society would prefer to chatter about what they expect from that poor soul.
Let us take a jump to directly when the child is in high school. Parents have a lot of expectations from the child to excel in academics. If not in studies, at least they want their child to outsmart in probably some other field. Wanting is different from expecting. Expecting is when someone pressurises one to do something. No matter how doting one’s family is, we cannot but deny that of course they expect a lot from us. If a student is a scholar, people will not be content. They want more. A ninety percent is not enough, it is about achieving cent percent.
Working hard in getting a job is when we ourselves begin to expect. We expect a fat pay cheque, a luxurious house, a chauffeur driven car, petrol and all the basic amenities as well as luxuries all being borne by the company. However, in this competitive world, let us be realistic. Just as we have umpteen expectations from our employers, they have from their employees. In this cut throat race, it is but obvious that often our jobs do not match our dreams. So, we end up getting a little less than what we had yearned for which in turn leads to job dissatisfaction.
We all expect our life to be a bed of roses. We demand tomorrow to be better than today. We desire to never have to pass through a dark phase. The truth is you, me, everyone yearns for many unrealistic things. We know life is about ups and downs but we do not want to embrace the truth. For that is what leads to a downfall. We want the world to be our oyster. We wish we could make the world spin on our little finger but that is not possible. We need to acknowledge that there will be moments when it will all fall apart. We may have a fixed schedule set in our head but in reality, there is a fair chance that things will go completely off track and haywire.
Expectations can break relationships. Love and friendship are extremely fragile. We expect to receive as much we give, or worse we expect more. We expect the other person to be perfect. We expect the other person to be sympathetic, empathetic and joyful as need be. We often expect the other person to satiate our materialistic needs. Whether said or unsaid, this is when the fragile thread breaks.
Here is a straight forward yet extremely difficult solution to leading a life without disappointments and that is if we close our mind to any expectations. Let us not peak into what our future would be like. However, to not have positive thoughts about tomorrow is practical only for hermits. To survive in this world of consumerism, we often need fuel for our dreams, hopes and lives. Hence, do not stop dreaming. Build a happy picture in head but a hazy one so that it can be moulded with acceptance as the future unwinds. It should not be a concrete monument that is cemented so strongly, that it eventually dilapidates with cracks and crevices.
The truth is we need to work hard towards our goals. Either persevere till we succeed or lower our expectations. A flawless life is one void of expectations for then only can we happily clutch on to whatever comes our way. From my personal experiences, I can vouch that things happen when one least expects them to. It is as if when we want something to go our way, the universe conspires it to go in the reverse direction. It is only when we are not thinking in that direction, that the wind of happiness drops desirous presents at our feet, leaving us overwhelmed.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), our life is not a fairy tale where we expect a Prince Charming to ride on a horse back and sweep us off our feet into his arms or where a Fairy Godmother would come to our rescue. We expect even our life to have a Happy Ever After but the reality about those much clichéd three words is even beyond the scope of the fairy tale.