Expectations: With or Without Them You’re Screwed

What is a reasonable expectation? Is there such a thing, and if there is, who sets the boundaries of acceptability?

I would think that reasonable expectations when you’re young would be to have food in the fridge, a bed to sleep in, maybe running water and a roof over your head. I get it, in some places that might not be reasonable, but here, it should reach a 90% chance of being so. What else, as a kid, a somewhat achievable expectation could be a few more things like a couple of bedtime stories in your life, a birthday party, and one dinner without peas. As an adult, the list of reasonable expectations varies for everyone.

Where does anyone begin when quantifying an expectation? As a grown-up, there are expectations that should be expected. I graduated high school, whether done fantastically or pitifully, it’s done and life begins, or some vision of life makes its way to the field. And what? What does that life look like? Surely by this point in time, we have abandoned our ideas of realistically being a fireman or astronaut. We may decide to go for that business BA or learn how to hotwire a car, ie: become a mechanic. In the end, however, what does any of it mean.

Learning certain skills doesn’t, in and of themselves, give anyone a bullseye guarantee in the area of expectations, does it? Maybe it does, the unemployment rate for those with a BA is sitting around 2.1%. I guess with statistics like that we can at least agree that we should be able to expect to get a job with our BA, right? The expectation of this almost certainly fades when we then factor in our desire for the said job we get. Rather than sounding like dad 1, 2, or 3 at the dinner table, let’s move along.

I had to troll the Facebook a bit to get my senses back and away from parenting 101 on the expectations of real-life and school and work and oh my. Phew, now that that brainwashing cloud has passed, let’s talk about everyday expectations. I mean the expectations that make you tilt your head in amusement or horror.

If you have ever been on a group thread for fun, a particular interest or may the universe help you, work… you may have had some simple expectations that were never met and you’re still trying to wrap your head around what the hell just happened. Or worse, the sky may actually now be falling. Chicken Little must be real because your expectations for your age group to have accepted that ‘he’ was not real by now would have become a tangible fact.

Is it, I ask, an unreasonable expectation to think someone with a couple of decades or three behind them would know how to clean a sponge? That rinse and repeat is a suggestion if needed, not a directive? A 12 pack of soda counts as 1 item in the 15 items or less check-out lane? Wipe your feet, lock the door, rinse your plate, use your blinker… before turning, zip in, it’s an acceleration lane (dip shit), the menu hasn’t really changed in 50 years order already, no… on a low carb diet you can’t have pasta… just no!

There are so many expectations one can have and many I think are completely reasonable. If the trash is full empty it, if you order pizza and I am home, I like pepperoni and mushrooms. If we are out of toilet paper, dear Lordy let someone know. Obviously, these are pretty light expectations, but there are some that are much larger.

Large expectations are as individual as each person, I guess the little ones can be too. My Natasha is a therapist and if I had a dime for every time that she has told me that I need to lower my expectations, I wouldn’t be super-rich, but damn, we could have one heck of a good time out on the town. I suppose this is a fair statement, lowering expectations, especially of others.

When expecting things of others it may be important to remember that we are not, at least widely, known to be a species that reads minds. If I don’t tell you how I feel, what I like, what I don’t like and open myself to potential vulnerabilities, there are vulnerabilities with expectations, then I am the one who has not met the human requirements for a smooth and easy-going life. That my friends, is on me, all the way.

Bottom line, at the end of the day… if the milk carton is nearly empty… put milk on the list, if you know that I will home after dark… leave the porch light on, if you’re ordering pizza… ha ha ha, and if you expect me to get you flowers or a birthday cake (especially when I haven’t done that, per a discussion we once had, in years) then tell me.

[Examples set in this blog of expectations are just that, examples and do not necessarily reflect the author’s own personal life. The examples were a compilation of long talks with people I know and randoms. However, I do not like it when the toilet paper runs out and when there is no pizza for me.] 😛